Wally the walrus has vanished from a seaside resort after being harassed by thoughtless visitors.
The animal became a tourist attraction after turning up thousands of miles from his Arctic home on the Welsh coast. But he has not been seen since Easter Monday morning after spending more than a week in Tenby, Pembrokeshire.
Animal welfare groups believe he left after becoming ‘obviously disturbed’ by day-trippers getting too close.
Wally the Walrus, pictured, was first spotted on Valentia Island, Co Kerry in the Irish Republic before swimming to Tenby, South Wales
Animal welfare experts claim he may have been forced out to Tenby by tourists seeking to get too close to him while he was sunbathing on the RNLI slipway in the town’s harbour
Large groups of tourists gathered along the water’s edge to watch Wally, who was last seen on Monday
Irresponsible tourists tried to approach him using jet-skis, paddleboards and drones as he rested on a RNLI slipway in the town’s harbour.
Terry Leadbetter, of Welsh Marine Life Rescue said: ‘It was an absolute nightmare trying to keep people away.
‘There were even people flying drones trying to get close. People were getting within a couple of metres of the walrus.
‘Wally was aware that people were there and was obviously disturbed.
‘Walruses have been known to attack boats and they’ve been known to kill people so like any other wild animal you don’t want to get too close just in case.
‘These people are just going up to it and taking their chances.
‘They are unpredictable, and you don’t know if they are likely to turn around and attack someone or not. Someone who is acting irresponsibly could get injured.’
The walrus is believed to have crossed the Irish Sea after being spotted in County Kerry earlier this month.
It was first seen in Wales on rocks near Broad Haven South beach before swimming further south to Tenby days later.
Wally took refuge on a slipway belonging to the RNLI but he has not been seen since Monday.
Wildlife groups are monitoring the Welsh coast to see if it pops up elsewhere but have urged visitors to leave it alone.
Welsh Marine Life Rescue said: ‘We believe that people have been breaking Covid restrictions by crossing the border from England to see the animal.
‘There was one report that someone even travelled from as far as Essex and many people weren’t sticking to social distancing.’