Wally the walrus was the star attraction as he toured the coasts of the UK, Ireland, France and Spain before later turning up in Iceland.
But the seemingly happy wanderer was a striking example of how mammals’ routines are being disrupted, sometimes dramatically.
And The Wildlife Trusts are warning that marine life is suffering from human developments and interventions such as wind farms, fishing and climate change.
Lissa Batey, head of marine conservation for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “It’s been a fantastic year for marine megafauna sightings, particularly in the SouthWest.
But it’s clear our oceans are under immense pressure from fishing, development, pollution, climate change and recreation.All these issues are having a huge impact on life at sea.”
The coalition of regional charities’ review of the year shows by early December, Cornwall Wildlife Trust recorded 17 sightings of humpback whales, once extremely rare.
It brings the total to 75 sightings since 2019, with the species thought to be chasing shoals of sardines now present in the region’s waters, and shows numbers are recovering after bans on commercial whaling.
This article by Emily Beament was first published by The Express on 31 December 2021. Lead Image: Bottlenose dolphins off the Scottish coast. (Image: Getty Images).
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