A wandering walrus that wowed thousands in Scarborough on New Year’s Eve has turned up 100 miles away on the North Sea coast.
A large crowd quickly gathered in the Northumberland town of Blyth on Monday lunchtime after a walrus was spotted resting on a wooden dinghy at a yacht club.
It is believed to be Thor, a young man who parked on the slipway at Scarborough Harbor on the evening of December 30 – just meters from the town’s cafes and slot machines – and returned to the water less than 24 hours later.
Thor, who was the first walrus recorded in Yorkshire, came from the Hampshire coast where he had been spotted earlier in December.
Scarborough Council has decided to cancel the New Year’s Eve fireworks display as part of a multi-agency effort to stop the huge animal from moving and causing harm.
The new sighting of Thor coincided with the release of a British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) report on his visit to the Yorkshire seaside resort, which says up to 500 people watched his antics at any one time, with thousands visiting the scene.
The report said that most of the public “taken pictures and stood there in disbelief – probably blown away by the sight of the walrus!”
BDMLR said they had been notified of Thor’s arrival in North Yorkshire at 11.30pm on 30 December by Scarborough Sealife staff and their initial response was “Are you kidding me?”
Thor is said to have changed his position as the tide changed, fearing at one point that he was heading towards the public road at the top of the slipway.
It was also noted that he “demonstrated some natural masculine behavior throughout the evening.”
The report said: “At 4:00 p.m. (December 31), Thor became a little more active, and at 4:30 p.m. he sat up, turned around, and slid quickly into the harbour.
“Cries of joy erupted from the crowd as BDMLR medics scrambled around with radios to track which direction he had gone. This was helped by local young people who had seen him swim, and we confirmed that he left the port.”
It said most visitors behaved appropriately, but police were dealing with “a small handful of difficult members of the public and one person breaking the cordon and entering private property trying to gain access to the walrus to take pictures.”
BDMLR said: “The nice audience asked lots of questions, offered and bought hot drinks and food, and expressed appreciation for Thor’s protection, with the overwhelming majority having tremendous respect for our guest.
“At all times the crowd was at least 350 people, at one point it seemed like there were more than 500 people there, and more bodies kept popping up from all the avenues, roads and even buses.
“It is estimated that several thousand people were present throughout the day, although probably many more.”
He praised the council for agreeing to its request to cancel the fireworks display.
It said: “BDMLR Headquarters spoke with the local council and liaison officers, who explained the fireworks situation to all members of the council who unreservedly agreed that the fireworks display was likely to cause stress and anxiety to the walrus, therefore it was canceled without hesitation.
“This was an amazing step forward in animal welfare that has been hugely supported by the public, official parties and media.”
Humberside Police Sergeant Jenna Jones said: “It has been an unbelievable privilege to support colleagues and volunteers to keep Thor healthy and at peace with the launch of Operation Seabird on the Yorkshire coast to prevent distress to our seabirds and marine mammals.
“Thank you to the audience for keeping your distance and all the questions.
“You’ve certainly tested my knowledge of walruses!”