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clonea strand

The Arctic walrus is back in Ireland - this time, bobbing off the Waterford coastline

The walrus was spotted lounging on rocks off Valentia Island in March. Now he’s at Clonea Strand.

DSCN5615 The walrus at Clonea, Co Waterford. Cormac Walsh / IWDG Cormac Walsh / IWDG / IWDG

THE ARCTIC WALRUS that was spotted off the Kerry coastline in March is back – this time, he’s been spotted near Clonea Strand in Co Waterford.

Alan Houlihan and his daughter Muireann spotted the walrus lounging on rocks at Valentia Island back in March, before other sightings of the tusked mammal emerged off other European coastlines.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said that six days after the walrus was sighted off the Kerry coast, it had travelled over to Broad Haven South beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

A few days later it was sighted at the Welsh seaside town of Tenby, where it remained for some time.

By late April, the walrus was seen off the coast of Cornwall, England.

By late May, it had continued to track south to French Atlantic waters at La Rochelle.

By June, there were reports that it was back in UK waters off the Isles of Scilly, located near Cornwall.

At 11.30am on Monday 2 August, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group received images of the walrus swimming near a boat off Clonea Strand in Co Waterford. 

Walrus-Travels-Map Irish Whale and Dolphin Group Irish Whale and Dolphin Group

The above map suggests that the minimum distance the walrus has travelled is 2,000km.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said in a statement, based on what little we know, “…We think it likely, if it has just made another long distance swim, that it will be tired and may look for a place to haul out to rest.”

The IWDG said that it would be best if the walrus returned towards its home in the Arctic circle, as the waters in the height of summer might be uncomfortably warm for a mammal with a thick layer of blubber.

E7zgo8FXoAQJL8E Cormac Walsh / IWDG Cormac Walsh / IWDG / IWDG

“Images thus far suggest that he’s not overly concerned whether it is a quiet, secluded area or a busy port,” the IWDG said. “He is very aware of his size advantage over just about everything and will rest wherever he chooses and will not be easily moved.”

Cormac Walsh, who took the photos that confirmed the walrus had returned to Ireland, told the IWDG that he was under the impression that the walrus was looking to climb on board his boat, which could have led to a “dangerous situation”.

The IWDG asked local mariners to give the walrus a wide berth and not to disturb it. 

“The latest sighting reports put in the water off Ballinacourty lighthouse for those of you with good optics, perhaps offering a good vantage point. Enjoy – but from a safe distance.”

The IWDG asked members of the public to download its reporting app and use it to ‘Report a Sighting’ of the visitor, if you do catch a glimpse.

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