A Government minister has urged the public to "cop on" and to show consideration for Wally the Walrus, following reports of people getting too close to the Arctic mammal.
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan has joined the calls of Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) in asking the public to observe Wally the Walrus from a distance.
The Arctic walrus was first spotted in Ireland off the coast of Valentia Island in March, and following sightings along the coast of Western Europe has recently returned to the southern coast of Ireland.
Minister Noonan said while it is understandable that many people are excited about the presence of a walrus on the Irish coast, people must remember that Wally is "a wild animal" and "should be respected".
"I’m appealing to everyone not to get close and only view it from a distance.
"This is for the animal’s sake, but also for your own, as there may be risks from a water safety perspective where large numbers of people are congregating on the water.
"Leave it alone and if you must go and see it, use binoculars," he continued.
His comments follow a renewed appeal from SRI yesterday who asked the public to avoid approaching Wally within 100m.
In a Facebook post yesterday evening the charity stated that observers have noted Wally has been "quite stressed and agitated" from the repeated disturbances caused by boats, kayaks and paddleboards, and has "a potential injury from being forced off and on the boat repeatedly".