The Sunday Telegraph
Walrus taken to tusk for puncturing dinghies
WALLY the Walrus is popping rubber dinghies with its tusks as it tries to find a spot to rest on the Isles of Scilly.
The Arctic mammal has become a celebrity since being spotted off Ireland in March, before embarking on a tour of Wales, Cornwall and France before returning to the Cornish coast.
But while seeing Wally basking off Porthcressa Beach on St Mary’s is fun, boat owners have reservations.
Will Wagstaff, a freelance tour guide on the islands, saw the huge walrus near a headland where yachts sail. Wally had sunk two tenders after apparently mistaken them for resting spots.
He said: “It has actually popped a couple of Zodiacs [dinghies]. People were leaving their dinghies out the back and of course that is ideal for it to think it can get on, but it’s way too heavy.
“It used its big tusks to lever itself up. Soft rubber and hard old ivory is not a good combination really. Boat owners had a big old beast coming up to their boat and they didn’t know what to do.”
Wally is thought to have floated across the Irish Sea on an ice floe. Mr Wagstaff added: “If you are sensible, you are nervous about it. You don’t want it making a mess of your boat.”
The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and British Divers Marine Life Rescue told the BBC the animal spotted was Wally, who was last seen near Bilbao, in Spain, two weeks ago.
A spokesman said: “The animal’s movements are being monitored by a number of conservation and welfare organisations to keep an eye on his health, although he seems to be coping well out of his regular habitat and has been seen feeding often.
“It is hoped that he is now finally returning north and will get back to his native home in the Arctic again soon.”
A rare Egyptian vulture has also been spotted on the islands this week, 28 miles off Cornwall.