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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Can’t we just let Wally the walrus live?!


by Sarah Finnan
19th Aug 2021

@clondistillery / Twitter

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Wally the walrus is in a spot of trouble down south, with Seal Rescue Ireland urging the public to give him his space.

First spotted down in the Kingdom back in March, Wally the Walrus has garnered himself quite the reputation since then. Here as a result of, yep you guessed it, climate change, he’s found himself severely lacking places to rest his weary bones (walruses are semi-aquatic mammals who spend half their time in the water, and the other half above it on sea ice or land).  

But, ever the problem solver, Wally has come up with quite an ingenious solution and has taken to using local boats in lieu of passing sea ice. A good idea in his mind, but perhaps not the best news for those who own said boats as Wally seems to take the “leave no trace” mentality quite literally and each of the vessels he’s stopped off in have subsequently sunk. Safe to say not everyone is always so happy to see him…

In the process of trying to source a floating couch specifically for Wally, the hope is that he might use that as a resting point instead. There’s one big problem, though. Now considered to be somewhat of a local celeb, people have been swarming the area to catch a glimpse of Wally and volunteers at Seal Rescue Ireland fear that the continued attention may lead to him sticking around. 

“The location where he is now, he’s getting [repeatedly] harassed and approached by boats. There are a lot of people who are not respecting the distance, coming up and sticking cameras in his face. We don’t want him to hang in this area because of the boats that are swarming him and not respecting,” she told the Independent

Stressed, agitated and visibly injured, Seal Rescue Ireland is urging people to stay at least 100 metres away from Wally so as to “respect him from a distance”. They’re also asking people not to post his whereabouts on social media as doing so only attracts further attention to the animal, who is already struggling. 

He may be a bit of a troublemaker, but Wally the walrus is in fact a wild animal lest you forget. He has no regard for anything, much less your boat, and just because he feels the need to lash out and cause physical damage to his surroundings, it doesn’t mean that he wants an audience to witness his teenage angst. 

He doesn’t want an audience, nor does he need one and you may think it’s all just a bit of harmless fun, but the situation could have much graver effects for the mammal who still has an “extremely long swim” ahead of him, according to Melanie Croce, executive director of Seal Rescue Ireland. 

In fact, the whole thing points to an even wider issue – humans’ influence on nature – and surprise, surprise, it’s the same issue that environmentalists have been trying to forewarn us of for years now. With the climate crisis freshly in people’s minds, Wally the Walrus is a physical embodiment of the message we all really need to wake up to… that being, that humans need to back off. Immediately.

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