Ireland seeks peace for Wally the Walrus

The Irish government wants the public to leave Wally the Walrus alone.

The 800-kilogram walrus has become a celebrity since arriving earlier this month off the coast of Cork, at least 2,500 kilometers southeast of his usual Arctic habitat.

He’s capsized at least two anchored boats and damaged several others while seeking shelter on the nearest local equivalent to sea ice.

Wildlife officials have pleaded for people to stop reporting sightings of the walrus on social media, saying the swarms of resultant onlookers are getting dangerously close and needlessly stressing the animal. Their curiosity has been swelled by photographs of the twin-tusked beast appearing to lounge Tuesday at the steering wheel of a powerboat anchored in Crookhaven harbor.

In a government statement, minister of state Malcolm Noonan said he understood why “many people are excited about the presence of a walrus on the Irish coast” — but too many people were getting in Wally’s face.

“It’s up to people to cop on and have consideration for this poor wild animal,” Noonan said, employing Irish slang to “wise up.”

“Leave it alone,” he said. “If you must go and see it, use binoculars.”

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the walrus needed to be allowed to rest up before a hoped-for journey back to its normal habitat off Greenland.

The environmental group said Wally appears to be on an epic homeward loop after being spotted earlier this summer off the coasts of Britain, France and Spain.

The group’s sightings officer, Pádraig Whooley, said Wally didn’t need to be rescued or aided — just given peace from the paparazzi.

“This walrus has it very easy at the moment,” Whooley said. “He doesn’t have to look over his shoulders for polar bears.”



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