Thor the walrus on move after cancelling new year fireworks
‘Thor’, the wandering walrus who saw Scarborough’s new year fireworks cancelled, is on the move after an overnight stop in Blyth, Northumberland.
The animal, who attracted huge crowds in Scarborough at the end of December, arrived in the Northumberland harbour at about midday on Monday (2 January 2023). He departed at around 6.45am on Tuesday morning, according to charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDLMR), which has been keeping watch over the male walrus — estimated to be three years old and weigh about 0.75 tonnes.
Thor has been making headlines since being spotted napping on a Hampshire beach in December, prompting warnings that the public should keep away from it to help maximise its chances of survival.
Scarborough Borough Council chose to cancel its new year fireworks display on the advice of wildlife experts, after Thor popped up on the town’s shoreline on 30 December 2022 and displayed some playful behaviour.
However, the walrus decided to swim off before new year, much to the amusement of many on social media.
Dan Jarvis, BDLMR director of welfare and conservation, told the BBC that the animal, which feeds chiefly on cockles, clams and mussels, appeared fit and healthy after turning up in Blyth this week. He said Thor was “heading in the right direction” and would “hopefully” continue his journey north.
“We might not see him again or he could pop up for a rest somewhere along the Scottish coast,” Jarvis added.
Walruses usually live in and around the Arctic circle and it is rare for them to come as far south as Britain. However, in November, Thor was spotted in the Netherlands and has been seen moving along the coast of France as far as Brittany in recent weeks. The walrus is likely stopping to regain strength before continuing on its next journey.
Last year, two walruses visited the UK. Wally came to south Wales and the Isles of Scilly, while Freya visited Northumberland and Shetland. Both received unwanted attention from boaters and the public.
Adult walruses can weigh over two tonnes and measure around 4m in length. They have a life expectancy of around 40 years.