March 22 (UPI) — A walrus spotted on the coast of Wales may be the first such sighting in the area.
Ellie West, an animal rescue and wildlife officer with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, monitored the walrus as it lounged near the bottom of a cliff in Pembrokeshire.
“Apart from it being very very very surreal and very very unusual, I have to admit my main emotion is feeling quite sad that this poor guy has turned up over here on a very very long journey, very very far away from home and an unknown future for him,” West said in a video posted to Twitter on Monday.
“The biggest thing we can do now is allow this beauty to rest up.”
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the walrus was the same animal that was spotted on the coast of Ireland a week earlier.
“The IWDG can confirm it is the same animal due to the white markings on its left flipper and tusk length,” the group said on Twitter. “It has travelled 450 km in 6 days, suggesting it may not have been as undernourished and exhausted as some suggested.”
Experts are unsure how the walrus ended up so far south, with some speculating that it may have floated on ice, it may have been searching for food or it may have been frightened by a disturbance, The Guardian reported.
Walrus sighting are rare in the British and Irish Isles. Lucy Babey, head of science and conservation at the marine conservation charity Orca, told The Guardian there have been eight confirmed walrus sightings in Ireland since 1979.
In 2017, a rare walrus sighting in Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula brought onlookers to the harbor to snap photos.
Alaskan walruses have been forced inland during the summers in recent years as sea ice disappears.