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Artist William’s crafty ploy to deter Wally a stroke of genius

September 2nd, 2021 5:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

It’s a case of thumbs up and fingers crossed for Elvie and her dad, the artist and illustrator William Helps, who used the image of the polar bear to keep Wally off his 20ft boat.

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A PROFESSIONAL artist and illustrator from Rosscarbery has taken a unique approach to helping Wally, the walrus that has been holidaying in West Cork.

The artist William Helps believes Wally is doing ‘alright’ and he jokingly said his primary concern was for the safety of his small boat moored near Rosscarbery, given Wally’s propensity to sink them.

William took the unusual action of drawing two cardboard cut-outs of polar bears and put them in the port and starboard side of his Orkney 520, a 20ft inshore motorboat.

William said he did the drawings of the polar bears shortly after the first sighting of Wally at Dunnycove.

‘I did what I could to deter him in a humane fashion,’ said William. ‘He should be encouraged to move on north where he belongs.’

William’s artwork – drawings of wildlife, particularly whales, dolphins and birds – is beautifully nuanced and realistic.

His online portfolio shows the full range and scope of his work, but he mostly works to commissions.

No one has asked him to draw Wally, but he said he’d be happy to do one, if requested.

Maybe one of the unfortunate boat owners who had Wally as an unwelcome guest over the past two weeks would like a souvenir.

Wally bypassed Mill Cove, the bay near Rosscarbery where Willian’s boat is moored, so the drawings might be working.

‘It hasn’t been sunk yet!’ said William of his boat.

Several ribs have been punctured or damaged by Wally, while the sheer heft of the 850kg mammal has capsized other boats.

While Wally was spotted in Crookhaven last week, there have been no recent sightings of him. At that time, local wildlife groups urged onlookers to keep a safe 100m from the walrus, who may get distressed as the arctic native would not be very familiar with humans and may get ‘spooked’.

A local BnB owner donated an unused inflatable boat to lure Wally off other leisure craft in the area, and when the walrus climbed aboard, he got a round of applause from the spectators lined up outside O’Sullivan’s bar.

It is hoped that, given he has visited Spain and France in recent months but returned to West Cork, he may be making his way, slowly, back home towards the North Pole.

Meanwhile, a massive whale was photographed off the coast of Union Hall on Sunday last.

Wildlife photographer Philip O’Byrne estimated that the massive mammal was up to 80ft long.

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