A wandering walrus has delighted locals and tourists after appearing in Scarborough.
The marine mammal arrived in the town on last night (Sunday) and has drawn huge crowds to the harbour on New Year’s Eve.
The Arctic walrus is believed to be Thor – the same animal that was spotted on the Hampshire coastline earlier this month.
Local wildlife experts have asked people not to disturb the creature, saying he appears to be “taking a break” in Scarborough and will move on in a few days once he is rested enough to continue his journey north.
It is believed to be the first time a walrus has been spotted in Yorkshire, and a cordon has been put around him to keep excited crowds from getting too close.
Resident Richard Coulson, 51, said: “I live just round the corner from where it actually is and the traffic up and down our road – it’s just like a summer’s day, it really is absolutely teeming with cars and people. It’s amazing how much attention it’s brought.
“It’s been well protected – it’s been cordoned off so you can’t get within 20 feet of it.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one. It’s huge. We see seals quite regularly round Scarborough coastline but something of that size, it’s enormous.
“You respect nature when you see something of that size. Its tusks are bigger than my arms.”
Stuart Ford, who runs the Sealife Safari boat tour agency, told PA: “I was going down to my boat and there it was on the slipway – magnificent. It’s got to be half a ton.
“I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, first-time-ever thing in Scarborough to see.”
The Sea Life Scarborough aquarium said its animal care team is monitoring the walrus’s situation, along with the RSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue.
They wrote on social media: “Please do not worry – he appears well and is just taking a well deserved rest after his long adventure!
“Please be respectful of his rest and try not to disturb him. While it is a very exciting opportunity for us, naturally they do not like lots of noise and are not familiar with domestic animals so please keep pets on leads and remain a safe distance for your own welfare and his.
“Hopefully within a few days he will have got enough rest to move on and continue his adventures North!”
Scarborough was due to have a fireworks display to herald the New Year, but that has now been cancelled.
Scarborough Borough Council dropped the display on the advice of British Divers Marine Life Rescue after the organisation expressed concerns that it could cause “distress” to Thor.