Wally the walrus is causing a nuisance on the Isles of Scilly by popping rubber dinghies with his tusks as he tries to find a spot to rest, experts have revealed.
The arctic animal has become something of a celebrity since he was first spotted off County Kerry in March, before embarking on a tour of Wales, Cornwall and even France before making his way back to the Cornish coast.
But while for many seeing the animal basking in the sun off Porthcressa Beach on St Mary’s is a fun and welcome distraction, boat owners have discovered drawbacks to the walrus’s presence.
Will Wagstaff, a freelance tour guide on the islands, confirmed he had witnessed the Walrus near a headland where yachts sail, and that the animal had sunk two dinghies attached to the vessels after apparently mistaken them for resting spots.
There's Wally, last seen attempting to mount yachts off Porthcressa Beach on the southern side of St Mary's, the largest of the Scilly Isles
Credit: SWNS.COM/Rachel Box
He said: “It has actually popped a couple of Zodiacs (dinghies). People were leaving their dinghies out the back and of course that is ideal for it to think it can get on but it’s way too heavy.
"And of course it used its big tusks to lever itself up. Soft rubber and hard old ivory or whatever it is is not a good combination really."
He said boat owners were concerned by the walrus’ behaviour.
Wally pops a dingy as a disgruntled sailor looks on
Credit: Cliff Smith
"They had a big old beast coming up to their boat and they didn’t know what to do," Mr Wagstaff said.
Mr Wagstaff said he understood why people were nervous around the animal, thought to have floated across the Irish Sea on an ice floe, adding: "If you are sensible you are nervous about it. You don’t want it making a mess of your boat."
The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and British Divers Marine Life Rescue told the BBC it believed the animal spotted was Wally and that the last known sighting of him was at Bilbao in Spain two weeks ago.
A spokesman said: "The animal’s movements are being monitored by a number of conservation and welfare organisations to keep an eye on his health, although he seems to coping well out of his regular habitat and has been seen feeding often.
"It is hoped that he is now finally returning north and will get back to his native home in the Arctic again soon."
Wally is thought to have floated across the Irish Sea on an ice floe.
A rare Egyptian vulture has also been spotted on the islands this week, located 28 miles off Cornwall.