New Year’s Eve display forced to be cancelled due to walrus on harbour
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A fireworks display due to be held in Scarborough on New Year's Eve was called off after a walrus showed up in the harbour.
There are many reasons why you might call off a fireworks show, but 'unexpected walrus arrival' is probably pretty far down the list.
However, that's exactly what happened in Scarborough at the turn of the year after a big walrus named Thor suddenly showed up right at the end of 2022.
Scarborough's New Year's Eve fireworks display was called off after the British Divers Marine Life Rescue advised them that the loud noises could 'distress' the walrus.
Thor had been spotted earlier in December clambering ashore on the beach at Calshot, Hampshire, and drew crowds of people who wanted to come and get a good look.
The walrus received a similar welcome in Scarborough, with plenty of locals heading for the harbour to see the animal, though people who stayed to watch ended up getting a sight they probably weren't expecting.
With the New Year's Eve fireworks display called off so as not to scare Thor too badly, plenty of people decided to do a spot of walrus watching, and might have ended up regretting it.
Instead of getting to watch some fireworks, Scarborough locals were given the dubious treat of watching Thor the walrus knock one out as he lay in the harbour.
As far as alternative New Year's Eve displays go, watching a walrus masturbate is definitely one of the far rarer things to go and see.
Luckily, the walrus is in fine health according to Scarborough Sea Life, with their animal care team helping to monitor Thor and make sure he was alright.
They posted on social media to say he would just be resting for a few days before heading back out to sea and likely swimming further north.
Thor's arrival in Scarborough is thought to have been the first time a walrus has visited Yorkshire, and a cordon had to be placed around the walrus to stop people from getting too close.
Scarborough resident Richard Coulson said the walrus had been 'well protected' and that seeing such an 'enormous' creature up close meant you respected it, he told PA.
He said: "I live just round the corner from where it actually is and the traffic up and down our road – it’s just like a summer’s day, it really is absolutely teeming with cars and people. It’s amazing how much attention it’s brought.
"It’s been well protected – it’s been cordoned off so you can’t get within 20 feet of it. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one. It’s huge. We see seals quite regularly round Scarborough coastline but something of that size, it’s enormous."
"You respect nature when you see something of that size. Its tusks are bigger than my arms."