Thor the walrusStuart Ford / PA

A New Year’s Eve fireworks display had to be cancelled at the last minute to protect an Arctic walrus discovered in Scarborough.

The event was called off over fears it “could cause distress to the mammal”.

Council leader Steve Siddons said he was disappointed but “the welfare of the walrus has to take precedence”.

The walrus, which has drawn huge crowds since arriving on Saturday, is believed to be the same one spotted on the Hampshire coast three weeks ago.

Mr Siddons said the decision to cancel the event was made on the advice of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), who have been monitoring the marine mammal.

Wildlife experts have suggested the walrus – nicknamed Thor – may be “taking a break” and will move on in a few days once he is rested enough to continue his journey north.

Walrus sleeping on slipway

Stuart Ford / PA

On Saturday, a cordon was put around the animal after sightseers turned up to catch a glimpse, with one local describing the crowds as like a summer’s day in the seaside resort.

Chris Cook, from the BDMLR charity said that Thor should not be disturbed.

“We welcome the decision to call off the fireworks but understand that some people will be disappointed the display isn’t going ahead,” he said.

“It is extremely rare that an Arctic walrus should come ashore on the Yorkshire coast.

“The creature needs time to rest and recuperate before it continues its journey.”

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Source: BBC

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