Wandering Wally: Walrus is spotted in Iceland

Wally the walrus on a boat
The walrus, seen here when he was in Ireland this year, had not been spotted for more than three weeks

A walrus previously spotted in Ireland, France, Spain and the UK has turned up in Iceland, marine experts have said.

The 800kg (125st) Arctic walrus, known as Wally, had not been seen for more than three weeks, with spotters saying they were “starting to lose hope” of ever seeing him again.

However, Seal Rescue Ireland said he had been seen in Iceland on Sunday after 22 days of no sightings.

He was identified from scars on both his front flippers, the group said.

The wandering walrus was thought to have travelled 4,000km (2,485 miles) before reaching Ireland, with the new sighting in Iceland meaning he had swum more than 900km (560 miles) from his last known location in Cork.

Wally on his new pontoon
Wally had a pontoon made for him in the Isles of Scilly after he damaged boats

Seal Rescue Ireland said that Wally was identified after “conferring and comparing photos with our friends at British Divers Marine Life Rescue” and his identity was confirmed “based on the identification of scars on the front of both front flippers”.

The walrus, thought to be about four years old, first made waves in Ireland when he was spotted in county Kerry in March, as well as along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Tenby in Wales and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly since then.

A purpose-built pontoon was made for him in Scilly in a bid to reduce damage he he caused by climbing on boats.

Seal Rescue Ireland said it was “delighted” at the sighting after “starting to lose hope of ever seeing the young, wandering walrus again”.

It said: “We are absolutely over the moon that he’s not only still alive and well, but he is well on his way home to the Arctic.”

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