Ireland’s favourite ocean dweller Wally the walrus has begun both amusing and annoying the locals in Cork as he has taken to climbing into unmanned boats for a bit of a snooze.
Wally has become a popular figure in Ireland in recent months as he has been frequenting the coastal waters along the south of the country.
However, the huge sea mammal has also been causing some trouble as he has been finding anywhere he can to get a bit of rest.
Incredibly, the smart animal has learnt to climb up out of the water and onto the boats docked in the harbour.
The surprising behaviour was witnessed by Adam Collins of Clonakilty Distillery.
He said: “It was definitely a surprise to see the walrus in the boat, let alone off the coast of Clonakilty.
“We’re well used to seeing minke and humpback whales around here, but never a walrus.
“Thankfully there was no damage caused. We reckon he travelled all this way just to try a minke gin and tonic!”
Walruses can grow to weigh as much as two ton so Wally could easily cause a lot of damage to a small boat as he climbs in and out.
He was first seen around Irish waters off the coast of Valentia Island in March.
He has since been spotted on the coasts of the UK, France, Spain and Italy before returning to the Irish waters. That means the powerful mammal has covered at least 4,000km in the space of just a few months.
He has clearly learnt a few new skills on his travels. Wally began climbing onto boats for a rest in the Scilly Isles. Officials had to order a special pontoon to be built for him to try and reduce the damage he was causing to the local boats.
Wally has since returned to Irish waters and was spotted mounting a boat off the coast of Waterford.
Although the behaviour is amusing and surprising to see, there is a more serious element to Wally’s story.
It is believed he is originally from Svalbard, a group of islands situated between Norway and the north pole.
That means Wally is a long way from home and may be in more distress than he appears. One theory is that he fell asleep on an ice float and drifted down to the warmer waters around mainland Europe.
Pádraig Whooley from the Irish Dolphin and Whale Group explained: “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.
“So, we’d ask everyone who wants to see this rare Arctic visitor to respect its space, as it’s important that we come out the other end of this episode without injury to people or animal – even if we can’t guarantee he won’t sink a few boats.”
One of our team had an unexpected Artic visitor on their boat this evening. #Wallythewalrus spotted in Clonakilty today…. we reckon he must have stopped by on his travels for a refreshing Minke G&T. ??#clonakilty #wildatlanticway #purecork pic.twitter.com/zGH8vGqotB
— ClonakiltyDistillery (@clondistillery) August 9, 2021