Another Walrus Visits the UK

A huge walrus has made landfall in Scotland, just weeks after another celebrity pinniped left Britain to return to arctic waters.

A creel fisherman first sighted the new walrus sunbathing on the rocks of the Treshnish Isle in the inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, on Monday.

“It is very unusual,” Sadie Gorvett from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) said. A surprise for the local residents, it was also a shock for the island’s usual wildlife inhabitants: Nearby Atlantic grey seals gave the new arrival a wide berth.

Occasional visitors

Though rare, walruses have beached in Scotland before. In 2018, one appeared near Orkney. In 2021, a young female walrus nicknamed Freya turned up in Shetland.

HWDT has asked anyone who sees the new walrus to report the sighting on the app Whale Track. “Only with long-term monitoring will we know if it is an anomaly or a trend,” Gorvett said.

At the same time, they urge locals not to crowd the animal.

“Walruses travel long distances and have rest stops to recover and regain energy before moving on again,” rescue coordinator Molly Gray explained. “People being too close or noisy will impact its chance of survival.”

Thor the walrus in Scarborough.

Thor the walrus in Scarborough. Photo: Sky News


Thor the walrus

Earlier this winter, Thor the walrus gained celebrity status in the UK. Initially spotted in Hampshire in December, he proceeded to make his way up the east coast of the UK to Scarborough and then to Northumberland.

Crowds in nearby towns flocked to see Thor. The people of Scarborough set up a Twitter page dedicated to him and were so worried about his well-being that they canceled their New Year’s Eve fireworks so as not to distress him.

Before stopping in the UK, Thor was seen in the Netherlands and France. Researchers believe he began his journey in the Canadian Arctic.


Thor disappeared in early January but reappeared last week in Breiodalsvík, Iceland, a cool 1,360km from Northumberland. Researchers identified him by pale patches on his fore flippers while he lounged on a pontoon in the town’s harbor.

Thor the walrus.

Thor the walrus. Photo: Beverley Senturk

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.