Wally the walrus receives unwanted attention
An Arctic walrus who has been in the Isles of Scilly for the past week is “regularly being disturbed by vessels and the public”, according to BBC News.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) reminded people all walruses are protected by law. Although it is unusual for the species to be so far south as they are used to colder water, the walrus, known as Wally, has been seen on boats and rocks on St Mary’s and St Martin’s and has attracted interest with some people keen to get close.
A tweet from the MMO says: “We have received messages that the walrus currently on the Isles of Scilly is regularly being disturbed by vessels and the public. Walruses are protected from disturbance under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. So please keep your distance and do not approach.”
Lucy Babey, head of science and conservation at the Orca charity which protects marine wildlife, explains why Wally is behaving the way he is. “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 says it is hoped he will 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”.
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