While scanning Scotland’s rocky coastline, a local fisherman spotted a rare visitor stretching out in the sun.
“It was a surprise to see the walrus pulled up,” said fisherman Lorne McRae. Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust News release on Monday, February 27th. “Atlantic gray seals seemed to embrace it widely.”
According to the release, McRae took several photos of the “giant” creature and reported them to local marine organizations.
The walrus was found on the small island of Cologne-na-Bag-Beag, part of the Hebrides along the west coast of Scotland. The island is about 520 miles northwest of London.
“Walruses rarely visit the Scottish coast,” said a marine expert. It was the first sighting of a walrus on the west coast of Scotland in over 25 years, according to the organization.
A large male walrus called Thor was recently spotted along the coasts of the Netherlands, France, England and Iceland, experts said. The flippered Thor was last seen off the coast of Iceland on February 24th.
Marine experts don’t know if the walrus seen in the Hebrides is Thor. “If this is him, he’s had an incredible journey,” the organization said.
There are two species, the Atlantic walrus and the Pacific walrus, and they are named after the regions in which they live. World Wildlife FundPacific walruses roam from Russia to the west coast of the United States. Atlantic walruses are found off the northern coasts of Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia.
According to a World Wildlife Fund report, “There are believed to be about 25,000 wild walruses in the Atlantic and about 200,000 in the Pacific.
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has urged people to continue to respect Arctic visitors.
“Walruses travel long distances, rest and recuperate to regain energy before traveling again,” said Mollie Gray of British Divers Marine Life Rescue in a release. “When people get too close or are disturbed by noise, it affects[the walrus’]chances of survival.”
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