A WALRUS has been spotted in the UK for the first time in five years – in Orkney.
The tusked mammal has been causing a stir in the Orkney Islands as he tours the waters and famed beaches.
The walrus was first spotted yesterday (thur) frolicking around off the shores of North Ronaldsay, the northernmost island in the Orkney archipelago, yesterday (THU).
But now, the flippered marine animal is sunning itself on a beach on Sanday – the first time one is thought to have come ashore on the island.
Local children have named the visiting mammal “Wally”.
A Walrus sighting so far south of the North Pole and Arctic Ocean is a rare occurrence, and locals on Sanday have been making their way to see the creature – including the local school children.
The last time a Walrus was spotted in the UK was in 2013, when one came ashore in North Ronaldsay – for the first time in 25 years.
A photograph of the Walrus in the water was captured by North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory and shared widely online.
The snap shows the large tusked creature with it’s back to the camera, swimming contently in the water.
Kirkwall Councillor John Ross Scott posted a snap of the walrus last night (THU) with the caption: “There has been another confirmed sighting today of a Walrus off North Ronaldsay.
“So far it has not come ashore. This is five years and four days since the first Walrus came ashore in the UK at North Ronaldsay in 2013.”
Lewis Hooper, a volunteer at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, was the first to spot the walrus yesterday. He said: “It was yesterday evening, I took the dog out round the coast and I saw it in the water.
“There were some gulls following something so I followed them down the shore. I actually thought it was a small whale because of the size of it at first.
“I only realised it was a walrus when I saw the huge tusks.
“It’s caused quite a stir up here, especially on Sanday where it is now.”
The walrus decided to come ashore on Sanday, another island in the Orkney archipelago and has been causing a stir amongst the locals.
Emma Webb, Sanday’s Wildlife Ranger, said today: “I’m standing looking at him right now, he’s sleeping quite merrily. He’s caused quite a lot of excitement on the island, and all the school kids are coming down to see him.
“He’s just sleeping, and then occasionally he pops his head up to see his adoring fans, and then goes back to sleep. He looks quite comfortable, as much as you can be on a rocky beach, but it’s a cracking day up here for it.
“It’s the first time one has been spotted in the UK for some years, and we think it’s the first time on has been recorded on Sanday.”
On social media, Sam Crymble said: “Wow.”
Nicola Brown added: “That’s amazing.”
While Ryan Stead said simply: “Brilliant!”
In March 2013, a bird watcher on North Ronaldsay spotted a young male walrus on the shores of the island.
Mark Warren, assistant warden of the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, was the first to spot the mammal as he walked along the beach looking for birds.
The walrus was thought to have been resting after becoming disoriented during breeding season – and was thought to have come from a colony in Greenland.