Scares Wally! Welsh RNLI crew blast walrus with a horn to shift him off slipway so they can launch lifeboat
- Wally the Walrus was sunbathing on the slip way of the RNLI station in Tenby
- The crew needed to launch their lifeboat to help two canoeists in trouble
- One crew member was forced to use an airhorn to clear the slipway for launch
Wally the walrus had a rude awakening when he was forcibly moved off a lifeboat slipway – with an airhorn blast.
An RNLI volunteer tried to budge the huge Arctic walrus when they were called out on a rescue mission on Monday.
One volunteer took a broom to try and shoo the stubborn animal into the water to clear the way – but he refused to move.
An RNLI crew member was forced to use an air horn to encourage Wally the Walrus to clear the slipway in Tenby, Pembrokeshire to allow the lifeboat to launch in a rescue of two canoeists
Wally has been seen sunbathing on the slipway regularly over the past month
The massive mammal finds it easy to clamber up the slipway which is normally unoccupied
Tourists watched on as Wally finally retreated into the water in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, when an airhorn was blasted next to him.
Holidaymaker Martyn Sidwell, of Middlesbrough, said: ‘He had been feeding offshore for five consecutive days with no rest, so he was holed up on the lifeboat ramp trying to get some rest.
‘Then a shout went out for the lifeboat and the crew started arriving, running into the station. They soon realised, ‘we’re going to have to move the walrus’.
‘Eventually this guy came walking out with a broom, and tried to usher him off the ramp.
‘Then the walrus looked at him as if to say, ‘you’re having a laugh’. He’s the size of a cow. He wouldn’t move.
‘Then the guy came back with an air-horn. He must have thought, ‘I’ve had enough of this noise’, and turned into the sea.’
Wandering Wally set up camp on the Welsh coast after travelling from his Arctic home via Ireland.
Martyn said he travelled to the seaside town with his wife especially to see Wally.
He added: ‘It was a little bit tinged with sadness – he’s a long way from home.
‘But he’s healthy and putting on weight since he first turned up. Obviously the local razor clams have fed him up quite well.’
The RSPCA Cymru and Dyfed-Powys Police issued a plea to tourists to keep their distance from Wally.
Wally the Walrus is believed to have travelled across the Atlantic from Greenland on a sheet of ice before arriving in Co Kerry in the Irish Republic. He later swam into the Irish Sea, arriving in Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Wally is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
An RNLI spokesperson said the lifeboat was responding to an emergency involving two canoeists who got into difficulty between Stackpole and Broadhaven.
The spokesperson said the lifeboat crew have learned that ‘making some noise’ encourages Wally to leave the slipway allowing the lifeboat to launch.
A spokeswoman said: ‘On Monday the walrus needed a bit more convincing to move from the slip,” a spokeswoman said.
‘Due to the severity of the call-out and the need to keep the RNLI volunteers at a safe distance, a louder noise was made.
‘Again, once the lifeboat was on the water, Wally soon returned to his sunbathing spot and carried on with his day.’
Cleopatra Browne, of Welsh Marine Life Rescue, visited the walrus when it first arrived in Wales, saying: ‘It was about the size of a cow.
‘It was a whopper. I’ve seen them on telly and the news but it was huge.’
Walruses are more often seen in the Arctic, and are not usually seen this far south.
Ms Browne watched the walrus from about 40m away and believed it was a young animal as its tusks were ‘about 3in long’.
‘There is a tale going around that it fell asleep on an iceberg and ended up drifting across and woke up in Ireland,’ said Ms Browne.
‘And then ended up in Wales on the way home.’
It was first seen on the coast of County Kerry in west Ireland on March 15 before making the 450km journey to Pembrokeshire in Wales on March 21.
The RSPCA were called out to check on the creature — which is ‘underweight’ — at the bottom of a cliff near Broad Haven South beach last week.
Experts believe the walrus is a young adult, but it is not possible to determine the gender, as both males and females have tusks.
They said the animal may have dozed off on a block of ice and drifted across the ocean in its trip to Ireland.
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