Experts warn ‘Wally the Walrus’ being put at risk

Wally was pictured trying to board boats. (SWNS)
Wally was pictured trying to board boats. (SWNS)

Marine managers have warned that Wally the Walrus is being put at risk by boats and members of the public.

The walrus has spotted travelling across the world since March, stopping in countries like Ireland, Wales, France and Spain.

The walrus has been seen on boats and rocks on the Isles of Scilly.

But some people have been getting up too close to the animal.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) reminded people all walruses were protected by law.

A from the MMO said: "We have received messages that the walrus currently on the Isles of Scilly is regularly being disturbed by vessels and the public.

The walrus has clocked up significant sea miles in recent months with visits to Ireland, Wales and France. (SWNS)
The walrus has clocked up significant sea miles in recent months with visits to Ireland, Wales and France. (SWNS)

"Walruses are protected from disturbance under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. So please keep your distance and do not approach."

On Wednesday, St Mary's harbour towed a RIB (Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boat) Wally had climbed aboard to a safer position.

They asked people to "give this vessel a wide berth."

Watch: Wally the walrus rests after swimming to multiple countries

The Isles of Scilly Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority said on Twitter: "please use common sense, binoculars and zoom lenses and give the walrus plenty of space."

Lucy Babey, head of science and conservation at the Orca charity which protects marine wildlife, explained why the animal was behaving the way he is.

Wally the Walrus has been pictured finally getting some rest - after crawling onto the rocks to sunbathe on the Isles of Scilly. (SWNS)
Wally the Walrus has been pictured finally getting some rest - after crawling onto the rocks to sunbathe on the Isles of Scilly. (SWNS)

She told the BBC: "Walruses spend 25% of the time resting so Wally is going around trying to find resting places.

"He is building up his energy reserves as he has done a lot of swimming to get here from Spain, and has a lot more swimming to do to get home."

She said it was hoped he would continue to make his way to the Arctic, but "judging by what has happened over the last few months he might take a leisurely swim back north and so we might see him around the UK for a little while yet."

Boats and members of the public have been getting up and close to Wally the Walrus. (SWNS)
Boats and members of the public have been getting up and close to Wally the Walrus. (SWNS)

She added that he was being monitored and appeared to be healthy but "he probably hasn't come into contact with humans before so is curious - another reason to keep a distance is for our safety, as well as his".

A petition has also been set up entitled "Get Wally the walrus home."

It suggests "perhaps a large boat with a flat and large enough rear access deck for Wally to come and go as he wished with zero human contact could work?"

Animal welfare groups Wally initially came across the North Atlantic ocean from Greenland on an ice floe.

He was first seen in Ireland before taking up residence in Tenby, Pembrokeshire in March.

Watch: Wally the walrus tries to board tourist boat near Isles of Scilly