People who disturb 'Wally' the walrus in Tenby could be arrested

The Arctic walrus has been in Tenby for more than a month Credit: Exposure Business

People who disturb an Arctic walrus in Tenby have been warned they could be arrested.

Nicknamed 'Wally', the walrus arrived in Pembrokeshire last month, after he turned up in Ireland, having thought to have fallen asleep on an iceberg.

He is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 - meaning anyone disturbing the wild animal could be guilty of a criminal offence, the RSPCA said.

It comes following claims people have been seen "throwing things" at the walrus, spotted boats trying to lure the animal closer by putting fish out for it, and flying drones too close.

'Wally' was spotted perching a starfish on his nose Credit: Amy Compton

The mammal recently returned to the harbour after its disappearance for several days around Easter was thought to be because of tourists disturbing him.

Organisations are appealing for people to enjoy watching Wally from a distance, rather than approaching him.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: "It's remarkable that this Arctic walrus has swum over to Wales and is spending so much time in beautiful Pembrokeshire - as he continues to be spotted regularly on the Tenby coastline. 

"But we are pleading with tourists and the local community to please keep their distance as we continue to monitor this beautiful animal. 

"People need to enjoy him from afar, avoid potentially spooking the animal and allow him to rest and conserve his energy."

Wally has been seen relaxing on the slipway of Tenby lifeboat station Credit: Amy Compton

Charity Welsh Marine Life Rescue recently called on people to help its volunteers look after Wally's welfare after saying they received "verbal abuse" from people who were told that they were getting too close to the animal.

PC Kate Allen, from the Dyfed-Powys Police Rural Crime Team, said recent posts have been seen on social media about members of the public approaching Wally from the water and disturbing him.

She said: "We ask that in the event that this occurs, these matters are reported to the Rural Crime Team and/or the RSPCA rather than posted on social media."