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Walrus seen miles from Arctic habitat in Normandy, northern France

A walrus has been spotted in northern France, thousands of miles away from its Arctic circle habitat.

The sea animal, commonly found in Greenland, Russia or Alaska, was seen at the port of Dieppe in Normandy on Friday evening.

It was pictured resting on shore in a tweet posted by officials in the Normandy region and did not appear to show any signs of ill health.

The authorities set up a safety perimeter to protect the walrus, which was sighted by the port captain, while a notice was issued warning people not to interact with or disturb the mammal.

It dived into the water at 10.30am local time on Saturday morning and has not been seen since.

The Prefecture of Normandy and Seine-Maritime said: “A walrus was spotted in the evening of Friday 18 November at the entrance of the port of Dieppe by the captain of the port.

“A safety perimeter was set up… and a notice to navigation users was issued to prevent any interaction or disturbance of the mammal until its departure.”

Walruses typically leave the sea to rest before returning to the water.

However, the animals have poor vision outside the water and can become aggressive and dangerous when frightened.

Officials from the PELAGIS observatory, a marine biodiversity research centre, continued to monitor the animal this morning.

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Walrus spotted on artificial island

It is a second time this week that a walrus has appeared in Europe, with one captured on film in the Zeeland region of the Netherlands for the first time in 45 years.

It has not been confirmed if the sighting is the same animal in Dieppe.

Another juvenile walrus was seen on the Pembrokeshire coastline in Wales in March last year.

It is believed to be the same animal that washed up on Valentia Island in western Ireland and is thought to have been searching for food.

The rare sighting is believed to be the first time the RSPCA has been called out to check on a walrus since the animal charity was established more than a century ago.

In this image, taken Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022 by environmental group Sea Shepherd, shows a Beluga whale in the Seine river in Notre Dame de la Garenne, west of Paris. French environmentalists said Monday efforts to feed a dangerously thin Beluga whale that has strayed into the Seine River have failed so far. Experts are now seeking ways to get the animal out of the river lock where it is now stuck. (Sea Shepherd via AP)
Image:
The beluga whale pictured in the Seine river in August

In August this year, the River Seine became home to a beluga whale that was “dangerously thin” after refusing to eat.

Despite an unprecedented rescue operation, the authorities were forced to euthanise the animal.

Three months earlier, a young minke whale was put down after becoming “very distressed” while stranded in the River Thames.


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