19 August 2021
By Tom Collins
The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD has urged ‘walrus-watchers’ along Ireland’s southern coast to observe ‘Wally the Walrus’ from a distance.
The Arctic walrus was first spotted in Ireland off the coast of Valentia Island in March, and following sightings along the coast of Western Europe has recently returned to the southern coast of Ireland.
“While it’s understandable that many people are excited about the presence of a walrus on the Irish coast, we must remember that this is a wild animal and it should be respected,” Minister Noonan said. “I’m appealing to everyone not to get close and only view it from a distance. This is for the animal’s sake, but also for your own, as there may be risks from a water safety perspective where large numbers of people are congregating on the water.
“Walruses are not a protected species under the Wildlife Act, it’s basically the same as a fox or rabbit under the law, so it’s up to people to cop on and have consideration for this poor wild animal, which is a long way from home. Leave it alone and if you must go and see it, use binoculars.”