A huge 2000kg Arctic walrus named Wally is causing havoc and destruction on board luxury boats and yachts – but the turmoil has all come to an end.
A large, mustachioed tourist has been terrorising boat owners in the Irish Sea all summer.
Wally the Arctic walrus first appeared in the British Isles in late July.
This didn’t go unnoticed. Resting on moored boats and pontoons, the 2000kg sea mammal has been leaving a tidal wave of destruction in his wake.
In West Cork, he sank two boats in as many days.
Now it seems they have come up with a solution to give everyone a break: a floating, walrus-sized couch.
Earlier this month an appeal from Seal Rescue Ireland called for urgent donations of pontoons to keep Wally away from boats.
“We are looking for a pontoon/floating platform as a safe haul-out site for the walrus, so that he can be effectively monitored, protected from disturbance, and damage to property prevented,” read SRI’s emergency appeal.
Believed to have travelled over 4000km from Svalbard, northern Norway, no wonder Wally needs a rest.
Unfortunately, the heavy animal has a taste for the high life. He has been seen hanging off the back of yachts and capsizing luxury motor launches.
He damaged three boats at anchor in Dunnycove, Cork in under a week, according to the Irish Times. But this wanton destruction hasn’t stopped him from becoming a celebrity.
Wally doesn’t stay in one place for long. He has been sighted in Wales, Cornwall, the Scilly Isles and as far afield as west France.
Despite his boat-sinking habit, the walrus has been adopted by local tourism businesses.
After appearing on the slip blocking a local RNLI lifeboat service in Tenby, Wales the walrus began appearing on souvenirs in the town. An opportunistic local Brewery Tenby Harbwr even made a walrus-inspired ‘Arctic Pale Ale’.
Last week, owners of a Cork bed and breakfast, donated a dirigible boat to the cause.
Asking for boaties and kayakers to share Wally’s location and give him some space, they tracked him down with a floating bed in tow.
The SRI shared photos of the inflatable launch “kindly modified and donated for this purpose by Nick from Nick and Annies Country Cottage”.
“A designated rib has been set out since, which will hopefully lure him away from other boats to reduce property damage, and we are working with the local community to monitor him there until he has rested enough to continue on his long journey,” said SRI’s executive director Melanie Croce in a statement.
The idea came from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue who helped construct a “floating couch” for the walrus to stop him damaging shipping in the Scilly Isles.
“We hope after having spent enough time recuperating after his jaunt from South Wales to Scilly via Spain, that this is a good sign he now has the energy to power himself back to the Arctic,” they said in a statement on the BDMLR website.
“We will of course continue to keep an eye on his travels and assist our colleagues should any help and advice be needed.”
According to the WWF, despite their robust size, Arctic walrus are vulnerable to extinction. Around 25,000 are thought to be left in Atlantic waters. However, they rarely venture further south than Greenland.
Shrinking sea ice and warming Arctic waters have disrupted their normal patterns and seen them pop up in unexpected places, such as Spain.
“Once threatened by commercial hunting, today the biggest danger it faces is climate change,” says WWF.
This article originally appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission