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A furious boatman on the Isles of Scilly has denied claims that he tried to bash Wally the Walrus with an oar in front of horrified holidaymakers. 

James Stedeford who runs boat trips taking tourists to view wildlife is accused of reacting in anger after his empty dinghy was tipped over by the 2,000lb walrus.

A witness said that she saw him heading out in another boat and hitting the creature with an oar when he surfaced in St Mary’s harbour.

She claimed that holidaymakers shouted at him to stop, and that she heard him yell: ‘The sooner that thing is shot, the better’.

Speaking to MailOnline today, Mr Stedeford denied making the comment and insisted that he had only fended the walrus away with an oar to stop him flipping over the boat he was in, and called allegations he had attacked Wally were ‘completely untrue’.

Mr Stedeford said: ‘It just flipped my boat over with the engine on so I went to recover it in the harbour.

‘Whilst I was there it tried to board the boat I was on, so I fended it off with the oar.

This is the shocking moment a furious boatman on the Isles of Scilly allegedly used an oar to bash Wally the Walrus in front of horrified holidaymakers

This is the shocking moment a furious boatman on the Isles of Scilly allegedly used an oar to bash Wally the Walrus in front of horrified holidaymakers

This is the shocking moment a furious boatman on the Isles of Scilly allegedly used an oar to bash Wally the Walrus in front of horrified holidaymakers

James Stedeford, who runs boat trips taking tourists to view wildlife, is said to have reacted in anger after his dinghy was tipped over by the 2,000lb sea creature

James Stedeford, who runs boat trips taking tourists to view wildlife, is said to have reacted in anger after his dinghy was tipped over by the 2,000lb sea creature

James Stedeford, who runs boat trips taking tourists to view wildlife, is said to have reacted in anger after his dinghy was tipped over by the 2,000lb sea creature

Speaking to MailOnline today, Mr Stedeford denied making the comment and insisted that he had only fended the walrus away with an oar to stop him flipping over the boat he was in, and called allegations he had attacked Wally were 'completely untrue'

Speaking to MailOnline today, Mr Stedeford denied making the comment and insisted that he had only fended the walrus away with an oar to stop him flipping over the boat he was in, and called allegations he had attacked Wally were 'completely untrue'

Speaking to MailOnline today, Mr Stedeford denied making the comment and insisted that he had only fended the walrus away with an oar to stop him flipping over the boat he was in, and called allegations he had attacked Wally were ‘completely untrue’

A witness claimed that she saw Mr Stedeford heading out in another boat and hitting Wally with an oar when he surfaced

A witness claimed that she saw Mr Stedeford heading out in another boat and hitting Wally with an oar when he surfaced

A witness claimed that she saw Mr Stedeford heading out in another boat and hitting Wally with an oar when he surfaced

Holidaymakers allegedly shouted at him to stop as he yelled: 'The sooner that thing is shot, the better'

Holidaymakers allegedly shouted at him to stop as he yelled: 'The sooner that thing is shot, the better'

Holidaymakers allegedly shouted at him to stop as he yelled: ‘The sooner that thing is shot, the better’

‘It’s a ton and a quarter beast and it just flips boats over very easily. It’s huge and it tried to flip my boat over so needless to say I fended it off with my oar and that is all that happened.

‘I didn’t even touch it, but it was threatening me and coming up. It doesn’t mean any harm but it was trying to come on to my boat with me in it. It would have flipped the boat over and I would have landed up in the water with a walrus which is not a good thing.’

He added that it was ‘a complete lie’ to suggest that he had made any comment about wanting Wally to be shot.

But the witness called Charlotte who watched the incident unfold with her family said: ‘It was just an awful thing to do. No animal should be treated like that.

‘He waited for Wally to come up for breath and then he hit him in the water with the oar. There was such anger and hatred in his face. One of the adults in my family group was in tears when she saw what he was doing. 

‘His actions were so scary. It is a tiny community here and Mr Stedeford is well known. The ironic thing is that he has a business taking people out on wildlife safaris to see puffins and seals.’

The arctic walrus has been delighting many onlookers who have nicknamed him Wally since he arrived in the Isles of Scilly last month. A purpose-built pontoon has been made for him in a bid to reduce damage he is causing and encourage him to leave.

But the giant creature has also upset boat owners by causing thousands of pounds of damage while trying to clamber on board vessels to relax.

Several small boats have been sunk or capsized by his antics while a number of inflatable dinghies have been punctured by his tusks.

Mr Stedeford said: 'It just flipped my boat over with the engine on so I went to recover it in the harbour. Whilst I was there it tried to board the boat I was on, so I fended it off with the oar'

Mr Stedeford said: 'It just flipped my boat over with the engine on so I went to recover it in the harbour. Whilst I was there it tried to board the boat I was on, so I fended it off with the oar'

Mr Stedeford said: ‘It just flipped my boat over with the engine on so I went to recover it in the harbour. Whilst I was there it tried to board the boat I was on, so I fended it off with the oar’

The arctic walrus has been delighting many onlookers who have nicknamed him Wally since he arrived in the Isles of Scilly last month

The arctic walrus has been delighting many onlookers who have nicknamed him Wally since he arrived in the Isles of Scilly last month

The arctic walrus has been delighting many onlookers who have nicknamed him Wally since he arrived in the Isles of Scilly last month

Several small pleasure and commercial boats have been sunk or capsized by his antics while inflatable dinghies have been punctured by his tusks

Several small pleasure and commercial boats have been sunk or capsized by his antics while inflatable dinghies have been punctured by his tusks

Several small pleasure and commercial boats have been sunk or capsized by his antics while inflatable dinghies have been punctured by his tusks

It is believed that Wally arrived in the Isles of Scilly after travelling 2,500 miles along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall over the last four months

It is believed that Wally arrived in the Isles of Scilly after travelling 2,500 miles along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall over the last four months

It is believed that Wally arrived in the Isles of Scilly after travelling 2,500 miles along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall over the last four months

Harbour authorities and wildlife volunteers have now brought in a pontoon where Wally can relax undisturbed and cause less trouble before he heads off to more familiar Arctic waters.

They have urged people not to approach Wally, as he is a protected species and it is a potential criminal offence to disturb him.

Charlotte, 28, who lives in London said she saw the confrontation between Mr Stedeford and Wally at around 4pm on Saturday, June 26.

She said: ‘Wally keeps trying to climb on board boats so he can bask in the sun – but the problem is he is so big that he can easily tip them over. He doesn’t know his own strength.

‘We had gone to St Mary’s to pick up a bit of shopping and we saw Wally was trying to climb on lots of different boats.

‘He uses his tusks to climb over them and then gets his flipper over the side and tries to climb in.

‘We saw him try to get in this little tender which I think belonged to Mr Stedeford, but it was a tippy little boat and it just flipped over. 

But the giant creature has also upset boat owners by causing thousands of pounds of damage while trying to clamber on board vessels to relax

But the giant creature has also upset boat owners by causing thousands of pounds of damage while trying to clamber on board vessels to relax

But the giant creature has also upset boat owners by causing thousands of pounds of damage while trying to clamber on board vessels to relax

Harbour authorities and wildlife volunteers have now brought in a pontoon where Wally can relax undisturbed and cause less trouble before he heads off to more familiar Arctic waters

Harbour authorities and wildlife volunteers have now brought in a pontoon where Wally can relax undisturbed and cause less trouble before he heads off to more familiar Arctic waters

Harbour authorities and wildlife volunteers have now brought in a pontoon where Wally can relax undisturbed and cause less trouble before he heads off to more familiar Arctic waters

‘Mr Stedeford was at the harbour and saw what happened. Apparently the boat had a new engine worth a few thousands pounds, so he was very angry.

‘Within minutes he had gone out in another boat and was looking for the walrus. He followed him out into the harbour and was waiting for him to surface for breath.

‘When he saw him, he seemed to slap him in the water with the oar. He only did it once.

‘There were lots of people on the quay who were all screaming at him, shouting things like, ‘No, don’t hit him’. Everyone was watching in shock and horror.

‘We were all screaming as well, saying: ‘Don’t do it’. But he did it anyway, and I heard him say: ‘As soon as that thing is shot, the better’.

‘I am pretty sure he hit Wally. He waited for him to surface and went for him. Then he towed his flipped over boat back to the pontoon and sorted it out.

‘It could have done Wally some damage, but we saw him swimming away afterwards. I don’t know whether he was hurt at all.’

Charlotte added: ‘Wally is not very popular with the locals because of the damage he has done, although holidaymakers adore him.

‘He might be affecting people’s livelihoods, but as far as I know he has not actually hurt anyone.’

Mr Stedeford who has operated commercial boats for more than 20 years set up his charter firm Falcon Boating on the Isles of Scilly in June 2014.

His boat called The Falcon is licensed to carry 12 passengers and can reach speeds of 35 knots and is available for ‘luxury private charter’ for £150 an hour. 

Experts have warned people to stay at least 50m to 100m away from him and say he should be gently pushed away with an oar if he gets too close to a vessel

Experts have warned people to stay at least 50m to 100m away from him and say he should be gently pushed away with an oar if he gets too close to a vessel

Experts have warned people to stay at least 50m to 100m away from him and say he should be gently pushed away with an oar if he gets too close to a vessel

It is believed that Wally arrived in the Isles of Scilly after travelling 2,500 miles along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall over the last four months

It is believed that Wally arrived in the Isles of Scilly after travelling 2,500 miles along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall over the last four months

It is believed that Wally arrived in the Isles of Scilly after travelling 2,500 miles along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall over the last four months

Organisations involved in trying to help Wally include British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and the St Mary's Harbour Team

Organisations involved in trying to help Wally include British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and the St Mary's Harbour Team

Organisations involved in trying to help Wally include British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and the St Mary’s Harbour Team

Mr Stedeford states on his website: ‘There are plenty of amazing seabirds, seal colonies and other local wildlife to enjoy, as well intriguing rock formations to watch out for.’

It is believed that Wally arrived in the Isles of Scilly after travelling 2,500 miles along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall over the last four months.

Experts have warned people to stay at least 50m to 100m away from him and say he should be gently pushed away with an oar if he gets too close to a vessel.

Organisations involved in trying to help Wally include British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and the St Mary’s Harbour Team.

The groups said in a statement that the pontoon for Wally had been constructed to give him a place ‘to rest, gain strength and ultimately leave Scilly to continue his journey home’.

They added: ‘He will only be able to do so if he has the energy to make the 1,990-mile journey. This means he needs to feed up … and rest peacefully without interruption.

‘If he is continually distracted, he will not gain the weight and energy for a long journey home and will likely remain in Scilly longer.’

The statement added: ‘He has not shown any aggressive behaviour, but he is young and still a very large, wild animal.’ 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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