Wally, a walrus from the Arctic, has been making a trip across Europe on his own for unknown reasons.
While he’s caused his fair share of damage (usually by climbing onto a boat he wrongly thinks is small enough for him), he’s also brought smiles to Italy, France, Spain, and the UK with his seemingly unstoppable traveling spirit.
All good things must come to an end, though, and now Wally’s headed back to the Arctic thanks to a coordinated response from Seal Rescue Ireland.
Wally enjoying a doze and a fishy snack on a Jetty at Höfn harbour, Iceland before some 'Walrus friendly weather' comes in on Thursday with an Icelandic Orange Alert issued for freezing temperatures, rain, snow and high winds
Image credit: Hornarfjarðarhöfn #wallythewalrus pic.twitter.com/n8oW0wZyqd
— Paul Silvers (@Cloud9weather1) September 22, 2021
Because Wally has not only been disrupting and damaging boats during his travels but also showed signs of slight injury, experts knew it was best to nudge him in the right direction on his way home. So, they built a pontoon craft, and when he climbed aboard, they crossed their fingers and watched as he floated in (roughly) the right direction.
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
It may seem surprising that expert intervention left so much to chance, but it really was the safest option.
So exciting to hear that #Wallythewalrus is one step closer to being back home now that he’s been spotted in Iceland, having travelled 560 miles from Cork! Seeing him Tenby earlier this summer was just awesome. What a remarkable chap! pic.twitter.com/vcjogZUH61
— Billy Heaney (@BillyHeaney) September 22, 2021
“For an apparently healthy animal, physical capture (e.g. sedation) and relocation is not warranted. It is an extremely difficult and potentially dangerous option for the walrus and for any handlers involved,” the British Divers Marine Life Rescue wrote on their website.
Fortunately, the move paid off and Wally is on his way to the Arctic!
Conservationists confirmed that recent photos of a walrus spotted in Iceland were indeed of Wally, thanks to his distinctive markings.
“We are absolutely over the moon that he’s not only still alive and well, but he is well on his way home to the Arctic,” Seal Rescue Ireland wrote on Twitter.
Wally needs his rest! Please stay a minimum of 💯 meters distance from #WallytheWalrus and #ObserveDontDisturb! Sign our petition to protect Arctic vagrants! https://t.co/3kpimKlAvI @seal_rescue @ObserversApp #CitizenScience pic.twitter.com/nPP5AtvQ14
— Ocean Research & Conservation Association (@ORCA_Ireland) September 21, 2021
“We are so grateful to the many members of the public who have shown support and love for this walrus by giving him a safe place to rest and gather his strength while visiting our shores ahead of this magnificent journey. Thanks to his ability to feed and rest, he has successfully made the long stretch and will hopefully reunite with his own kind again soon. Please always remember to give wildlife space, and put their safety and welfare first!” The team continued.
When Wally returns to the Arctic, he’s got his work cut out for him — he’ll need to learn how to be around other walruses and maybe even start a family. Fortunately, he made it through his European vacation safely and with a lot of stories to tell!Whizzco