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19th Aug 2021

Minister urges people to “cop on” and leave Wally the Walrus alone

Clara Kelly

“Leave it alone and if you must go and see it, use binoculars.”

Minister Malcolm Noonan has urged the public to “cop on” and leave Wally the Walrus alone.

The 800kg walrus has most recently been spotted off the coast of Cork, after turning up along the Waterford coast two weeks ago.

However, conversation groups have since called on the public to keep away from the Walrus as he travels through Ireland due to safety concerns.

Noonan said in a Government statement on Thursday: “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.

“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.”

It comes as The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) urged people not to disturb Wally the Walrus as he continues his tour of Ireland earlier in the day.

While there had been concern as to whether the Arctic walrus was injured because of his “extremely unusual” journey, IWDG Sightings Officer Padraig Whooley said that the animal “seems to be doing just fine”.

He told Morning Ireland: “It is moving. It’s doing all the right things. It’s taking 30-40km chunks of coastline and moving along and of course, everywhere that it turns up, it is, unfortunately, creating a bit of a circus.

“Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and all the other organisations are at pains to ask people if you are going to go and watch it, watch it from the safety of the shore.

“Don’t mill around it on boats because it has the potential to disturb this animal.

“It is doing fine. It looks hale and hearty… We’re not seeing any evidence that it is injured.”

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