Scarborough’s New Year fireworks cancelled to protect walrus
A New Year’s Eve fireworks display had to be cancelled at the last minute to protect an Arctic walrus discovered in Scarborough. The event was called off over fears it “could cause distress to the mammal”.Council leader Steve Siddons said he was disappointed but “the welfare of the walrus has to take precedence”.The walrus, which drew huge crowds after arriving on Saturday, is now believed to have headed out into the North Sea.
Mr Siddons said the decision to cancel the event was made on the advice of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), who have been monitoring the marine mammal. Wildlife experts suggested the walrus – nicknamed Thor – was “taking a break” before heading north.
On Saturday, a cordon was put around the animal after sightseers turned up to catch a glimpse, with one local describing the crowds as like a summer’s day in the seaside resort.
Emily Mayman, from the BDMLR charity, said the walrus was last seen heading out to sea at about 17:00 GMT on Saturday.
“We’ve not had any more reports of his sighting pretty much since he went out of the harbour,” she said.
She said surrounding coastline was being monitored in case he reappeared, adding he was probably looking for a feeding ground. “It could be that he could turn up anywhere,” she said.
Ms Mayman thanked the people of Scarborough, the police and local wildlife organisations for their support. “Everybody just did the right thing and we can’t be grateful enough for it,” she said. She also praised the council for calling off the fireworks display.
“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.