Pontoon built to help Wally the walrus rest on Isles of Scilly

The pontoon has been marked by the walrus' scent to attract him to it. Credit: Lizzi Larbalestier, British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

A walrus swimming in the waters around the Isles of Scilly has been given his own pontoon to rest on and people are being urged to give him space.

Wally the walrus has been on a European trip for months and is believed to have swam about 4,000km. He arrived in the Isles of Scilly on 17 June after visits to Cornwall and Wales.

Since then, he has angered some fishermen and residents after causing damage to boats and even capsizing skiffs.

But now it is hoped the pontoon will stop him from damaging vessels and allow him to have the space he needs to rest ahead of his 3,200km journey home.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and the St Mary’s Harbour Team are monitoring Wally's behaviour.

The walrus has rested on his pontoon multiple times and it may be relocated away from the harbour. Credit: Lizzi Larbalestier, British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

In a joint statement, they said: "If he approaches vessels, owners should gently deflect him with an oar; boat owners have also been advised to take action and take all possible steps to make their boats more difficult for him to board.

"In the meantime all boats owners and water users have been asked to give the walrus space and refrain from actively moving towards him.

"The walrus is a highly protected species and disturbance of this nature is a criminaloffence.  Even a lift of the head means his rest has been interrupted.

"Please stay away from him."

Wally the walrus was first welcomed in the Isles of Scilly but now some locals are angered by property damage. Credit: Scott Reid.

As part of their management plans, the collective also confirmed it has constructed a "specific customised pontoon" and "his scent has been used on it to encourage him to feel safe."

They say it is important for it to become a "safe space" for Wally.

Wally has already used the pontoon on numerous occasions in between feeding excursions and experts believe it may be possible to move the pontoon out of the harbour altogether to reduce disturbance and to enable him to rest more effectively.

It is not known why Wally is in the Isles of Scilly, although climate change is melting the Artic ice which walruses often explore.

laskan Walrus expert Lori Quakenbush thinks Wally has come from Svalbard, which is just north of Norway.

The expert said walruses are highly social creatures and even if there are only two walruses on a beach they will lie touching each other for comfort.

Experts have said the measures used to make Wally feel comfortable will not encourage him to stay as it is in his nature to move on. They say he is feeding well but his rest is not consistently good.