Tenby's now celebrated Arctic walrus, known affectionately as Wally, has vanished after last being seen on Easter Monday; local wildlife experts say its disappearance is a direct result of being "harassed" by tourists.

Wally spent a week in the popular Pembrokshire resort after straying thousands of miles from his Arctic home, and his antics have created huge UK-wide interest.

Animal welfare groups put Wally's disappearance down to the effects of mass-attention over the Easter weekend, when Wally was to be seen basking on the town's lifeboat slipway.

Terry Leadbetter, of Welsh Marine Life Rescue, told The Times newspaper:

"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.

“Despite all the warnings that have been put out, they have just ignored those and done what they wanted. It has been a bit of a nightmare really."


“There have been thousands of people coming to look...There were so many people packing in there, the police were thinking about closing the path off because if there was a lifeboat shout the crews would have trouble getting to the station."

Welsh Marine Life Rescue believe that some visitors from England made the journey to Tenby to see Wally - breaking England's Covid restrictions on travel, with one report that a tourist came from as far as Essex. Wally was first seen in Wales near Broad Haven having crossed the Irish Sea from County Kerry.

Wildlife groups are now monitoring the west Wales coast to see if Wally surfaces elsewhere. They  have urged visitors to leave him alone if he does.

Meanwhile, Terry Leadbetter and his colleagues are on the look out.

“I have mixed feelings about him,” he said. “Part of me wishes he would bugger off and let someone else deal with him and the crowds, but mainly I would like to see him grow. That would be wonderful.”

Experts doubt that Wally will make it back to the Arctic, but if he's left alone,  Pembrokeshire's waters may still provide a lasting marine home for our popular northern visitor.