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Famous walrus visits Shetland – and takes nap on salmon cage

A FAMOUS walrus has been spotted visiting the Shetland Islands after stopping by to take a nap on a salmon cage.

Freya was sighted hauling herself out of the water at Aith Ness on the coast of Shetland’s West Mainland on Friday and spent two days in the area.

The huge beast – thought to weigh three quarters of a tonne – was snapped relaxing on the top of a salmon cage in the bay before going back in the water for a dip.

Since yesterday, she has not been spotted but locals hope she may return again.

Freya was previously spotted in the Netherlands in October where she was photographed resting atop a Navy submarine.

Artic walrus spotted in Shetland Islands
Freya the walrus checks out her new surroundings.                                                                                 (C) Hugh Harrop

There were then more sightings of the brown walrus at a harbour in Seahouses, Northumberland last month.

The Shetland Islands are the latest stop for the walrus who has toured through Norway, Germany and the Netherlands, before arriving off the coast of Scotland.

Its temporary residence has been described as “a gift to a walrus”, offering “a low climb out point” where it can rest following its arduous swim.

Pictures of Freya are being shared on social media, with one post showing the large sea mammal sleeping receiving over 3,300 likes.

The post read: “This magnificent walrus hauled itself out off Vementry, West Mainland this morning allowing Dougie Leask to get these images.

“We are confident it is the same individual that was recorded in Germany and The Netherlands in September/October and then in Northumberland last month.

“Sadly it did not hang around and despite the efforts of ourselves and a few others, it could not be relocated.

“Fingers crossed it gets seen again.”

The post has gained over 3,300 likes and more than 150 comments from users in awe of the animal.

Rach Douglas said: “Ah Freya, it was so special to see you in Seahouses, pleased to see it looks like you’re heading home.”

Jennifer Ann Gregory said: “It’s amazing where this walrus gets to…maybe it is heading home.”

Richard Hibbs said: “Are those Salmon cages it’s tempted by?”

Salmon farmers contacted Shetland Wildlife to report the rare sighting, where organisation founder Hugh Harrop confirmed its identity.

Freya was recognisable due to her tusk length and a pink spot on her nostril.

Freya the walrus is very content at the salmon farm
Freya can be identified by her distinctive pink spot on her nostril.                                                             (C) Hugh Harrop

Speaking today, Hugh, 52 said: “There’s a real flourishing wildlife community here in Shetland where people want to see things like this.

“Seeing a walrus anywhere is perhaps a once in a lifetime experience.

“The fact that you just walk out onto a headland and see this walrus lying there is brilliant.

“There were lots of people there who made the trip yesterday – they just wanted to see such a magnificent animal.”

Walruses normally live in the Arctic polar regions – several hundred miles north.

The famous walrus is found sleeping at Shetland salmon farm
Freya caught snoozing at the salmon farm pen.                                                                                       (C) Hugh Harrop

Freya appears to have been making a journey around the European coast in recent months though.

She is one of two walruses recently spotted in European waters.

Wally the walrus was previously spotted just off the coast of the Sicily Islands, Spain, France and Ireland.

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