Give Wally a wide berth! Tourists are told to avoid famous walrus off the Isles of Scilly because the heatwave is making him tetchy
- Wally the walrus has caused thousands of pounds of damage boarding boats
- He arrived on the Isles of Scilly last month and temperatures have since risen
- The Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust say the walrus needs rest and space
- The charity has warned that the heatwave temperatures are ‘challenging him’
A famous walrus who loves to board harbour boats has been struggling to cope in the heatwave, according to a conservation charity.
Locals on the Isles of Scilly have been warned to stay away from Wally the walrus as high temperatures are ‘challenging him’.
The Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust warned: ‘This heat is not something he is adapted for so it’s more important now more than ever to give him rest and space’.
Locals on the Isles of Scilly have been warned to stay away from Wally the walrus as high temperatures are ‘challenging him’
The walrus has been in the Isles of Scilly since June 17 and has proved a popular hit with tourists and locals.
He is believed to be from Svalbard, north of Norway, and to have travelled alone about 4,000km between Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, France and now the Isles of Scilly.
A customised pontoon with his own scent has been built for him so he can have a safe space to rest before he can travel again. It is illegal to disturb the protected species.
Organisations and individuals, including British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and the St Mary’s Harbour Team, are currently monitoring Wally’s behaviour, implementing strategies to ensure his safety and limit damage to property.
The seal trust warns that if he is continually distracted, he will not gain the weight and energy for a long journey home and will likely remain in Scilly longer
The seal trust spokesperson added: ‘We are happy to see he is using the custom made pontoon Lizzi Larbalestier from BDMLR has made. We’d like to stress the key message that Wally needs rest and space.
‘All boats owners and water users have been asked to give the walrus space and refrain from actively moving towards him, but the temptation has proved too strong for many. The walrus is a highly protected species and disturbance of this nature is a criminal offence.
Even a lift of the head means his rest has been interrupted. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM HIM.’
Alaskan walrus expert Lori Quakenbush expects him to move on soon, but he will only be able to do so if the has the energy to make the 3,200km journey home.
This means he needs to feed up (on invertebrates – clams are his favourite food) and rest peacefully without interruption.
The seal trust warns that if he is continually distracted, he will not gain the weight and energy for a long journey home and will likely remain in Scilly longer. He is feeding well, but his rest is not consistently good.
‘His seemingly gregarious nature means he is most likely seeking company and activity. His initial preference for warm, spongy ribs and the way he curls up into small, enclosed spaces suggests these replicate his missing walrus companions,’ added the trust.
‘Evidence of him mouthing parts of boats could indicate self-soothing.’