Scarborough New Year's fireworks display cancelled over concerns for wandering walrus Thor

1 January 2023, 21:01 | Updated: 1 January 2023, 23:08

Scarborough's New Year fireworks display was cancelled on the advice of experts to protect a wandering walrus called Thor.
Scarborough's New Year fireworks display was cancelled on the advice of experts to protect a wandering walrus called Thor. Picture: Getty

By Chris Samuel

Scarborough's New Year Eve fireworks display was cancelled on the advice of experts to protect a wandering walrus known as 'Thor'.

The marine mammal was first spotted on New Years eve in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, it's reported.

Wildlife experts suggested the Arctic walrus, who has come to be known a 'Thor', was taking a breather during a journey north.

It's believed the mammal, who was greeted by large crowds after his arrival yesterday, has since headed out into the North Sea.

Scarborough Borough Council took the decision to cancel the seaside town's display on the advice of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who had been monitoring him.

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Its experts had expressed fears that the bright flashes and loud bangs "could cause distress to the mammal".

They had previously requested people not to disturb the creature and cordons have been put in place.

Thor resting in Scarborough Harbour yesterday.
Thor resting in Scarborough Harbour yesterday. Picture: Getty

RSPCA inspector Geoff Edmond determined that the creature didn't seem to be injured or sick.

A cordon was put around the animal yesterday after sightseers gathered to see the visitor.

Emily Mayman, from the BDMLR charity, said Thor was last seen heading out to sea at around 17:00 GMT yesterday.

Earlier this year, Thor was spotted off the Hampshire coast.
Earlier this year, Thor was spotted off the Hampshire coast. Picture: Getty

"We've not had any more reports of his sighting pretty much since he went out of the harbour," she told the BBC.

Ms Mayman said the surrounding coastline was being monitored if Thor returned, adding he was likely searching for a feeding ground.

Scarborough Borough Council took the decision to cancel the seaside town's display on the advice of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who had been monitoring him.
Scarborough Borough Council took the decision to cancel the seaside town's display on the advice of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who had been monitoring him. Picture: Getty

She thanked locals, local wildlife organisations and the police for their support, saying: "Everybody just did the right thing and we can't be grateful enough for it."

She also hailed the council and its decision to scrap the event for Thor's sake.

"It's hugely appreciated that they considered his welfare above anything else and I know it has been massively received right across the globe," she said.

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