UPDATE 27th August

 

Are there two walruses?

Wally is currently in West Cork where he has been for the past month eating, resting and hauling into boats. Regular sightings are being reported. HOWEVER, a walrus has also been reportedly seen in the Scillies - on 23rd August. With other sightings there also now being informally reported.

 

Has Wally been joined by a friend? Have there been two all along - giving us the run around?

 

Is this why our lonely Wally hasn't returned home - because he isn't lonely at all?

We are trying to get more information to see if there are any other sightings in the Scillies...

 

The sighting was logged on birdguides.com/sightings which has previously been a reliable site for
Wally news 

 

 

WALLY THE WALRUS

 

In March 2021, a five year old girl, out walking with her father, spotted a very very large seal on Glanleam Beach, Valentia in County Kerry. It turned out to be a Walrus. 

 

Walruses are usually to be found in the Arctic, places such as Greenland, and rarely venture as far south as Ireland and England, not least because they prefer colder seas.

 

Since that first sighting March, Wally has completed an epic 1,400 nautical mile round trip - through Wales, Cornwall, France, Spain, the Scillies, and nack to Ireland. This is around 2500 kilometres - the equivalent of circumnavigating mainland Britain.

 

And he must already have swum around 1700  nautical miles (3000 kilometres) to get to Ireland from Greenland - and the 1700 nautical miles he still has ahead of him to get home!

 

Map showing where Wally has been sighted (as reported in social media), from Valentia Island, to Broadhaven, his main stay on the slipway of the lifeboat station in Tenby and, most recently the sighting near Padstow in Cornwall on 19th May.

(Click the map for a closer look)



The last confirmed sighting of Wally the UK was in Padstow on 19th May.

 

After this excursion to Cornwall, on Sunday 23rd May, it was reported in social media that a fisherman spotted a walrus in Barafundle in Pembrokeshire, not far from Tenby where he has spent most of the spring. 

 

On 27th May 2021, he was sighted Vendée, in the Loire region. He then settled for a few days in the docks of La Rochelle.

 

There was some concern that he may be carrying an
injury - after potentially being hit by a boat (although
there were no actual sightings of such an incident. French marine experts, however, have viewed him (from a safe distance) and have reported that he seemed well.

 

SPAIN

 

On 5th June 2021, he was sighted further south still, in the the Basque country of Spain.

 

THE SCILLY ISLES

 

On 17th June 2021 - more than a week after the last sighting in Spain, there was a walrus sighting in Porth Cressa in the Scilly Isles. Up to his old tricks,
he was filmed trying to get into a boat. He stayed in the Scillies for sometime managing to upturn some boats and burst others. Kindly locals built him his own pontoon in St Mary's Harbour which he loved dearly returning to sleep on it after each fishing trip.

 

BACK TO IRELAND

 

After Storm Evert, there were concerns from him as he lay low for a time. But, on 2nd August, he was sighted back in Eire - this time in Clonea Strand, Co. Waterford, a journey of around 140 nautical miles. He has since been in West Cork up to his usual tricks of clambering into boats to rest.

 

 

 

These maps are rough guides only - please do not use them for navigation purposes or even for answering quiz questions...

In the Scillies, Wally has been visiting - and attempting to board - several boats. He may have accidentally burst a couple of dinghies...

 

Wally

 

When Wally was first seen, he was described as being the size of a large cow. Experts believe, based largely on looking at his tusks, that he is a young male. He was perhaps underweight when he arrived in Ireland, weighing around 500kg - the approximate weight of a grand piano!

 

Photographer: Factfinder404. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Wally's journey

 

Walruses are great swimmers and can stay underwater for half an hour. In terms of speed, they can travel at just over four miles an hour which means, for example, that Wally's journey of 350 nautical miles from Valentia to Broadhaven would have taken a minimum of 93 hours - just under 4 full days.

 

His journey from Tenby to Padstow, 70 nautical miles would have needed a minimum of 18 hours. he was last seen in Tenby on 17th May and spotted in Padstow on 19th May so he may have had plenty of rest and food stops on the way - a more leisurely journey than his swim from Ireland to Wales..

 

It has been suggested that Wally travelled from Greenland. From Greenland to Valentia could be (depending on where he started from and the route he took) a distance of around 1700 nautical miles. This would equate (unless he got a lift on a ice sheet in the style of Buddy the Elf...), to a swimming time of 440 hours - 18 full days.

 

What do walruses eat?

 

Walruses are not particularly fussy eaters but their favourite food is clams - small bi-valves. Because walruses are very large and clams are very small, walruses will typically eat 3,000 to 6,000 clams a day.

 

They feed by sliding along the sea bed, with their snouts in the sand feeling out clams which are partially or wholly buried. 

Where will Wally go now?

 

He would ordinarily be in the cold waters of the Arctic with the company of other walruses whereas the waters here are only going to get warmer as we go into summer. And as a young male, he thoughts are surely going to turn to breeding soon so he will need to find a mate. And there is a distinct shortage of eligible mates in Europe... 

 

Having made the immense journey northward from the Scillies to ireland, perhaps Wally is finally on his way home.

During his time there, he appears to have put on weight which may be significant in terms of when he decides to make the long journey to the Arctic.

 

On the other hand, he loved that slipway in Tenby, so perhaps he will pop back there!

With Wally the Adventurer, there is really no knowing!!

 

 

 

Our first sighting of Wally on his epic journey