It looks like Wally the walrus is finally heading for home.
The 800kg walrus who visited Ireland’s south coast over the summer has been spotted in Iceland.
Wally was first spotted on Kerry’s Valentia Island last March but there were frequent sightings of the mammal in Cork in recent months.
Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) said that after 22 days without a confirmed sighting, Wally was spotted in Iceland on Sunday.
“We were starting to lose hope of ever seeing the young, wandering walrus again,” the animal charity said on social media.
Confirming that the sighting in Iceland was Wally, they said: “Notice the similar scars on the front of both front flippers”.
“We are absolutely over the moon that he's not only still alive and well, but he is well on his way home to the Arctic.”
it has been confirmed that THIS IS WALLY! Notice the similar scars on the front of both front flippers. We are absolutely over the moon that he's not only still alive and well, but he is well on his way home to the Arctic— Seal Rescue Ireland (@seal_rescue) September 20, 2021
Picture: Hafrún Eiríks / Höfn (instagram @motamyndir) 3/7 pic.twitter.com/yK91CJJEiH
They added that he was seen swimming “back out to sea last night (and even managed to avoid sinking any boats while he was there)!”
The sighting of Wally in Cork was rare, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group saying just two other walrus appearances have been recorded in Ireland since 1999.
Since being spotted on Valentia Island last March, Wally’s travels have seen him head for Wales, Cornwall, France, Spain and then back to Cork.
SRI said today that they are grateful to the people who “have shown support and love for this walrus by giving him a safe place to rest and gather his strength while visiting our shores ahead of this magnificent journey".
“Thanks to his ability to feed and rest, he has successfully made the long stretch and will hopefully reunite with his own kind again soon.”
The charity also urged people to give wildlife space and to put their safety and welfare first.
Wally’s success “is a great opportunity to highlight the immense pressures that our marine mammals face on a daily basis from human disturbance,” said SRI.
“Please remember to apply this love and respect to Wally's cousins, our own Common Seals and Grey Seals, who are extremely vulnerable at this time of year due to giving birth to and caring for their pups on our shores.
"As climate change impacts wildlife habitats, many species are under an ever-increasing threat and the least we can do is avoid intentionally making their lives even more difficult.”