February 3, 2023



Safe Travels Thor, The Walrus That Delighted Britain

2 min read

A restless walrus who has delighted northern England over the festive period has returned to the water – and is hopefully heading north to his natural habitat in the Arctic.

The animal, swiftly nicknamed Thor, has made brief appearances on land since parking himself on a slipway in Scarborough harbour on the evening of December 30.

His close proximity to the town – just yards from the town’s cafes and slot machines – prompted officials in the seaside resort to cancel its New Year’s Eve fireworks display to stop the massive animal getting agitated and coming to harm.

Reports suggested up to 500 people were watching his antics at any one time with thousands visiting the scene.

Thor, the first walrus recorded in Yorkshire, “demonstrated some natural male behaviour over the evening”, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said.

Thor at Scarborough harbour on New Year’s Eve

A large crowd quickly gathered in the Northumberland town of Blyth on Monday lunchtime after the walrus was spotted resting on a wooden pontoon at the local yacht club.

The BBC has reported left Blyth at around 6.45am on Tuesday, according to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, and it is hoped he will now head north to his normal Arctic waters.

People look at a walrus at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club in Blyth.
People look at a walrus at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club in Blyth.

Owen Humphreys via PA Wire/PA Images

The assumption is that Thor had swum round from the Hampshire coast, where he was spotted earlier in December.

The RSPCA had said the walrus did not appear to be sick or injured, and encouraged people to enjoy the sight from a respectful distance.

The walrus is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and so disturbing the animal may constitute an offence.

The BDMLR said most of the visitors behaved appropriately but police had to deal with “a small handful of difficult members of public, and one person breaking cordon and entering private property attempting to access the walrus for photographs.”

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