Europe’s famous wandering walrus has pitched up off the Co Cork coast.
Dubbed “Wally”, the arctic animal has been on a journey of thousands of miles, with stops in the UK, France and as far south as Spain.
He reappeared in Co Waterford last week, and now the mammal has “hauled out” on a boat belonging to Clonakilty Distillery in West Cork.
Adam Collins, a distillery spokesperson, told Sky News the company has “agreed to allow Wally to use the boat for as long as needs be and not move it until a more permanent solution can be found”.
The boat is ordinarily used to forage for rock samphire, a botanical used in gin production.
The large sea mammal, thought to be around four years old, has reportedly sunk one small boat and damaged several others on his visit to Cork.
Seal Rescue Ireland has launched an appeal for a pontoon or other floating platform for Wally to use as a “safe haul-out site, so that he can be effectively monitored, protected from disturbance and damage to property prevented”.
“As a Pinniped (like seals and sea lions) walruses are semi-aquatic, which means they must come up on land (or a floating object) to rest,” the charity said.
During his stay in the Isles of Scilly earlier in the summer, a purpose-built pontoon was provided for Wally, after he sunk and damaged a number of small vessels.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said “although these images have a comic quality to them, there is a serious side to this, as this animal is a long way from home and we’ve no way of knowing whether it is stressed, and how it may react to stressful situations”.
The group has asked people to come no closer than 100 metres to Wally, and for boat owners not to approach him in the water.
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