Warden surprised to find rare walrus basking on Orkney Island

Residents on the island of North Ronaldsay were given a rare chance to catch a glimpse a walrus on their shores.

Several hundred miles from where the animals are normal spotted, locals were surprised to spot the beast on the shoreline on Sunday.

Mark Warren, warden at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, said: "I was just walking along the beach surveying the birds in this area and just saw this big lump on the seaweed and half expected it to be a dead whale or a dolphin.

"But then it moved and suddenly you see these great big tusks and you realise it isn't something like that. A few phone calls a bit of research and it didn't take long to find out it's a walrus."

The tusked giant spent most of the afternoon, snoozing on his back, oblivious to the stir he had created.

Local resident Alison Duncan said: "North Ronaldsay is famous for getting all kinds of migrating birds and we get some really rare ones from time to time.

“But as far as mammals go this is the most unusual thing I’ve ever seen."

Fellow resident Gavin Woodbridge said: "When we heard about it we thought we didn't know quite what to expect. When we got down there was a big lump on the beach and just the size of it we couldn't quite comprehend. A bit bigger than the average seal."

The creatures are normally found in Arctic waters and how the creature landed up on North Ronaldsay remains a mystery.

A walrus with similar markings was seen on the Faroe Islands five days ago.

The walrus returned to sea on Monday morning.

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walrus Marine mammal: The walrus was found basking on the shoreline.

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