Officials on Isle of Scilly build pontoon so walrus Wally can relax

Wally the Walrus’ ‘safe space’! Officials on the Isle of Scilly build pontoon so 2,000lb Arctic sea beast can relax and cause less damage to passing boats

  • Experts designed a pontoon in a bid to make Wally the Walrus to feel more safe
  • Locals in the Isles of Scilly have seen arctic mammal cause considerable damage
  • The 2,000lb beast should be living near Greenland in the North Atlantic ocean
  • But wildlife experts say it is likely he drifted south while sleeping on an iceberg
  • It comes after officials said they hoped to deport walrus over damage concerns 

Officials on the Isles of Scilly have built a ‘safe space’ for Wally The Walrus – a pontoon where he can relax undisturbed and cause less trouble.

Locals are also being advised to gently push the arctic walrus away from their vessels with an oar if he approaches.

It’s hoped the advice and the newly constructed pontoon will encourage him to feel safe – and decrease his ‘vandalism’.

It comes after officials said they hoped to deport the walrus back to its home in the Arctic over damage concerns from local fishermen.

The adventurous creature, thought to have floated across the Atlantic on an ice floe, has clocked up significant sea miles in recent months with visits to Ireland, Wales, France and Scilly.

Officials have worked with experts on the Isles of Scilly have built a ‘safe space’ for Wally the Walrus – a large pontoon where he can relax undisturbed and cause less trouble (pictured)

It is hoped the pontoon will make the walrus feel more safe and keep him away from boats

 

Wally the Walrus was pictured hitching a ride on a boat so he could sunbathe and rest

But the marine mammal has proven to be a bit of a vandal – causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to boats in St Mary’s harbour.

Now BDMLR and the Harbour Authority have constructed a specific customised pontoon replicating his apparent need for physical contact.

Wally has also taken a liking to the Star of Life ambulance boat – but it’s been agreed he can still climb on board in between times of emergency.

A spokesperson from the BDMLR, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and the St Mary’s Harbour Team said: ‘We have collectively decided, with the support of the Harbour Office of St Mary’s, that when he hauls out onto the Star of Life ambulance boat, he can be left to rest.

‘If there is a callout, he has been shown to get off the vessel, so not impacting the boat’s ability to serve the community’s emergency needs.

‘Allowing him to remain on the Star of Life reduces potential damage to other vessels which is a key aim of our dynamic risk assessment procedures.

Wally has also taken a liking to the Star of Life ambulance boat (pictured) – but it’s been agreed he can still climb on board in between times of emergency as he does not impeded its service

Wally the famous Arctic Walrus causing havoc for boat owners of the Isles of Scilly earlier this month after returning to the UK coast. Images show the walrus deflating rubber dinghies

Witnesses said Wally’s tusks popped several dinghies that were attached to the back of yachts

‘BDMLR and the Harbour Authority have constructed a specific customised pontoon replicating his apparent need for physical contact.

‘His scent has been used on it to encourage him to feel safe. The aim is to test to see if he will use it and to encourage him to opt for this rather than the Star of Life (or any other vessel).

‘It has been moored close to the Walrus’ preferred haul out in the hope that he will choose this as a ‘better option’.

‘Since the pontoons deployment the Walrus has found it and has now returned to it on a number of occasions in between feeding excursions.

‘The situation is being monitored and it may be possible to re-locate the pontoon outside the harbour area to reduce disturbance and enable him to rest more effectively.

‘In the meantime all boats owners and water users have been asked to give the Walrus space and refrain from actively moving towards him, but the temptation has proved too strong for many.

The Walrus has been finding boats to nap on to build up his strength before returning north 

‘The Walrus is a highly protected species and disturbance of this nature is a criminal offence.

‘Even a lift of the head means his rest has been interrupted. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM HIM.

‘We are aware that the pontoon is moored within an active and busy harbour and are not expecting people to not use their boats.

‘For those moored near where the pontoon/Walrus is when accessing your boats please do so as efficiently as you can, leave your moorings by moving away from where the pontoon is and approach your moorings to pick-up by the same means.’

Experts say the new pontoon will not prevent Wally from eventually moving on from the Isles of Scilly – and that when he is ready, energy wise, he will move on.

It’s also been reiterated an animal dart would not work on Wally, since for an animal his size, the drug would take too long to take effect, he would be off into the water and likely die.

Previous attempts at re-locating other mobile marine species have proved that this option does not work, as relocated animals simply swim the long distances back to where they want to be.

Animal welfare groups believe it initially came across the North Atlantic ocean from Greenland on an ice floe.

It was first seen in Ireland before taking up residence in Tenby, Pembrokeshire in March.

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