A wandering walrus that thrilled tens of thousands on New Year’s Eve in Scarborough has been spotted 100 miles further up the North Sea coast. The walrus - affectionately nicknamed “Thor” - was seen relaxing on the wooden pontoon of a yacht club on Monday (2 January) lunchtime, drawing a sizeable audience to the Northumberland town of Blyth.
Thor became the first walrus to ever be recorded in Yorkshire when he turned up in Scarborough just a couple of days earlier, and had travelled there by making a mammoth swim up from the Hampshire coast, where he had previously been observed in December. As part of a multi-agency effort to prevent the enormous juvenile male from becoming distressed and hurting itself, Scarborough Council made the decision to cancel its New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
But where is the walrus now, and will any other towns and cities get a rare visit from the out-of-place Arctic visitor?
Where is Thor now?
It’s not known exactly where Thor is at this exact moment, and it has not been reported that the animal has been fitted with any kind of tracker. As the walrus left Scarborough earlier in the week, British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said its medics “scrambled with radios to track which direction he went.”
“This was assisted by some local youngsters who saw him swimming and we confirmed that he had swam off out of the harbour,” it added.
It appears as if Thor is heading back north towards the Arctic circle, his natural habitat. The Atlantic walrus lives in the seasonally ice-covered northern waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia, and so Thor could be heading towards Scandinavia.
If that is the case, it’s unlikely that the animal will be hugging the UK coastline for much longer, and he will probably make a dash across the North Sea in the near future.
But if he does make a shoreline appearance again, it will likely be further north from Blyth. Other notable settlements along the UK’s north-eastern coastline include places like Berwick-upon-Tweed, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.
‘Avoid the temptation to get near to him’
If the walrus does show up in your area, local wildlife experts have asked people not to disturb the creature. RSPCA inspector Geoff Edmond said Thor does not appear to be sick or injured, and encouraged people to enjoy the sight from a respectful distance.
He said: “We understand it’s exciting and unusual to have the walrus take up a temporary residence, however, it’s in his best interests to be left alone as much as possible, so we’re asking people to remember he is a wild animal and avoid the temptation to get near to him and disturb him.
“We would also remind everyone that the walrus is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and so disturbing the animal may constitute an offence.”