A walrus has been spotted on a beach in Hampshire in the UK this month. In the past few weeks, it is thought it also visited other locations near the English Channel including France and the Netherlands.
It only rested for a day on Calshot beach, before swimming off again. Walruses are not frequent visitors to British waters, so this was an unusual sighting. Members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity were on hand to keep an eye on the marine mammal and make sure visitors to the beach kept a respectful distance to minimise the stress felt by the animal.
Not usual habitat
Walruses can reach up to 1.5 tonnes in weight and their usual habitat is to be found within the Arctic Circle. Given this walrus was a long way from home, it may have been quite stressed already, so it was crucial to give it the space it needed to rest and return to the water.
Walrus range may be increasing
This wasn’t the first sighting of a walrus in the waters around the UK. There have been 27 known sightings over the past 100 years. In recent times there have been a few widely reported sightings. This could be a sign of a shifting pattern in their movements, following polar ice melting and the need to range further to find food.