A CHARITY is looking for an unused inflatable boat or large pontoon for Wally the walrus, who has been gracing West Cork’s waters this week.
The famous Arctic mammal, who has been spotted all over Europe since last March, was filmed climbing into yet another boat this week – this time in Clonakilty. Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) made the appeal for a boat because Wally is ‘semi-aquatic’ and needs to regularly come up on land for a rest. He has a penchant for Ribs (inflatable boats) and other small leisure craft, but could do damage if he persists in ‘borrowing’ people’s property, said a SRI spokesperson. ‘An unused Rib or a large pontoon can be used as a designated site for him to haul out on and have a rest,’ they explained.
This method was used by a charity in the UK while Wally was in the Isles of Scilly and proved successful. Wally made his way to West Cork after a brief visit to Ardmore where he took a liking to a boat belonging to the owner of the stylish Cliff House Hotel.
And in West Cork he was captured on video by John Collins near Broadstrand, while he ‘borrowed’ one of Clonakilty Distillery’s boats at another location on Monday. Before that, he had managed to sink a neighbouring boat due to his weight but didn’t damage it, but there were reports of other boats being damaged.
Michael Scully of Clonakilty Distillery said that Wally has been on and off their moored boat a few times and seems quite content to be there.
‘He was able to climb aboard at the back of my boat and he might be here for a while, but we don’t know,’ he said on Tuesday. ‘We’re quite happy to let him to use it, so he has somewhere to rest and he hasn’t caused any damage to it,’ said Michael.
Nic Slocum of Whale Watch West Cork said that Wally seems quite happy in his new surroundings and looks quite well, considering how far he has travelled.
‘But his presence is probably not a good sign. These animals are capable of travelling long distances. You’d have to ask yourself, too, what would make him come down here. It’s probably not for a good reason.’
SRI are asking people to report sightings of Wally to their 24/7 hotline on 087-1955393 so they can keep him safe. They are reminding people to keep a safe distance from him and not to approach him by coming up on boats to see him