Arctic walrus lands on rocks of Valentia Island, Co Kerry in rare sighting
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AN ARCTIC walrus has washed up on the rocks of Valentia Island in Co Kerry.
The exhausted mammal is a rare sighting in Ireland and was spotted by a father and daughter out walking on Sunday afternoon.
The large male walrus washed up yesterday afternoon[/caption]
The public has been urged to give the tired walrus plenty of space after its long journey from the coastal areas of Canada to Greenland, to the shores of Valentia Island.
The walrus is over two metres in length, but is thought to be young as his tusks are only around 30 centimeters long. A fully grown male walrus could see their tusks grow up to a metre long.
Local man Alan Houlihan and his five-year-old daughter Muireann were the first to spot the walrus.
Alan told the Irish Examiner: “Myself and my daughter were out walking on the beach down near the lighthouse. He breached out of the water onto the rocks and gave us a bit of a show.
“I thought it was a seal at first and then we saw the tusks. He kind of jumped up on the rocks. He was massive. He was about the size of a bull or a cow, pretty similar in size, he’s big, big.
“He was right beside us, less than 50 metres away from us. He went off again for a while and he came back and went back to the rocks. It’s brilliant.”
LONG WAY FROM HOME
The Irish Whale and Dolphin group confirmed the sighting and asked the public to observe the rare sight from a safe distance.
They said: “We would ask members of the public fortunate enough to see it, to observe this wayward traveler from a safe distance and to give it the space it requires and submit any subsequent sightings to the IWDG sighting scheme.”
Although the giant walrus is a rare sighting in Ireland, it is not new. Walruses were first officially spotted in Irish waters in 1897, with over 20 sightings since the 1980s.
The most recent mammal to land on Ireland’s shores may have fallen asleep on an iceberg that broke away from the mainland and drifted into the ocean.
The Irish Parks & Wildlife Service is reported to have been notified of the discovery of the exhausted walrus.