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Making waves Wally the wandering arctic walrus resurfaces in France

Onlookers reported that the arctic walrus looked to be in good health and surfaced on a rock before returning to the water

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Wally wallowing in the Welsh sunshine

Wally wallowing in the Welsh sunshine

Wally wallowing in the Welsh sunshine

A giant arctic walrus who first surfaced on Ireland’s Valentia Island has been spotted in France.

The walrus - nicknamed Wally - has been sighted near the western French town of Les Sables d’Olonne.

According to local newspaper Ouest France, onlookers report that the arctic walrus looked to be in good health and surfaced on a rock before returning to the water.

They estimated him to weigh about 350kg, far healthier than the emaciated creature who first made land here in early March.

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Five-year-old Muireann Houlihan points out the walrus along the coast of Valentia Island (Alan Houlihan)

Five-year-old Muireann Houlihan points out the walrus along the coast of Valentia Island (Alan Houlihan)

Five-year-old Muireann Houlihan points out the walrus along the coast of Valentia Island (Alan Houlihan)

The walrus appeared on a slipway in the region and remained there for a number of hours before returning to the water. The hold was closed for safety reasons.

“He went back to sea. Boats started to follow him. The maritime gendarmerie (police) was dispatched to the site to avoid the risk of accidents.

Then, the mammal sank and we did not see it again,” explained Fabien Demaret, in charge of activities for the national stranding network in the region.

Conservationists and marine experts have expressed concern that he continues to travel so far from his natural domain.

When he was first spotted in Valentia, experts concluded that the walrus, who is the size of a cow, could have drifted to Ireland on an ice sheet.

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The walrus on Valentia Island. Picture: Alan Houlihan © Eye Focus LTD

The walrus on Valentia Island. Picture: Alan Houlihan © Eye Focus LTD

The walrus on Valentia Island. Picture: Alan Houlihan © Eye Focus LTD

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Days later he was spotted in Pembrokeshire, Wales, where onlookers were bemused at his efforts to get onboard a dinghy.

Last week Wally surfaced again, and was spotted in the waters off the coast of Cornwall. “I've always wanted to see them but they are usually nowhere near Cornwall,” said local Nathaniel Barry, who came across him while on a sea safari.

“It popped up maybe 10m (30ft) away from us and the first thing I saw were these tusks. I was just in shock.”

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