Scarborough walrus Thor: The wandering walrus first found on on the Yorkshire coast has turned up again - this time in Northumberland

A wandering walrus who first delighted onlookers when he was spotted in Scarborough on New Year’s Eve has now turned up 100 miles further up the North Sea coast in Northumberland.

A big crowd quickly gathered in the Northumberland town of Blyth on Monday, January 2, 2023 at lunchtime after a walrus was spotted resting on a wooden pontoon at the yacht club.

He is thought to be Thor, the juvenile male who parked himself on a slipway in Scarborough harbour on the evening of December 31, 2022. He was just yards away from the town’s cafes and slot machines - and slipped back into the water just under 24 hours later.

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Thor, who was the first walrus recorded in Yorkshire, swam round from the Hampshire coast, where he was seen earlier in December.

A walrus at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club in Blyth. (Pic credit: Owen Humphreys / PA)A walrus at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club in Blyth. (Pic credit: Owen Humphreys / PA)
A walrus at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club in Blyth. (Pic credit: Owen Humphreys / PA)

Scarborough Council decided to cancel its New Year’s Eve fireworks display as part of an attempt to stop the massive animal getting agitated and coming to harm.

The new sighting of Thor coincided with the publication of a report from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) into his visit to the Yorkshire coast which said up to 500 people were watching him at any one time with thousands visiting the scene.

The report said that most of the public were ‘taking photos and standing in disbelief - presumably floored by seeing a walrus’.

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The BDMLR said it was alerted to Thor’s presence in North Yorkshire at 11.30pm on December 30 by staff from Scarborough Sealife and their initial response was: “Are you joking?”

The report also said that Thor moved his position as the tide level moved, with concerns at one point that he was heading towards the public road at the top of the slipway. It also stated that he “demonstrated some natural male behaviour over the evening”.

“By 4pm (on December 31), Thor was becoming slightly more active, and at 4.30pm he sat up, turned around and promptly slid off into the harbour,” the report said.

“A cheer erupted from the crowd while BDMLR medics scrambled with radios to track which direction he went. This was assisted by some local youngsters who saw him swimming and we confirmed that he had swam off out of the harbour.”

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According to the report, most of the onlookers were behaving appropriately, with a few exceptions of people who police had to deal with, including one person who broke cordon and entered private property attempting to access the walrus for photographs.

The BDMLR said: “Kind public asked many questions, offered and bought hot drinks and food, and expressed their appreciation of Thor being protected, with the overwhelming majority being immeasurably respectful to our visitor.

“At all times the crowd was at least 350 thick, at one point seemingly over 500 people were there with more bodies continually appearing from all avenues, roads, and even bus trips.

“It is estimated several thousand people were in attendance over the whole day, though likely far more.”

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The BDMLR also praised the council for agreeing to its request to cancel the fireworks display.

“BDMLR HQ spoke with the local council and liaison officers who explained the situation regarding fireworks to all council members who without reservation agreed the firework display would likely cause stress and alarm to the walrus, and therefore was cancelled without hesitation.

“This was an incredible step forward for animal welfare which has been tremendously backed by the public, official parties and the media.”

Humberside Police Sergeant Jenna Jones, said: “Having started Operation Seabird on the Yorkshire Coast to prevent disturbances to our seabirds and marine mammals it was an unbelievable privilege to support colleagues and volunteers ensuring Thor was healthy and undisturbed.

“I thank the public for keeping your distance and all your questions. You certainly tested my walrus knowledge”

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