Tonight’s New Year fireworks display in a North Yorkshire seaside town has been called off to avoid scaring a visiting walrus - which has now left
The Artic Mammal, believed to be making his way home, stopped off to rest from the North Sea at the harbour in Scarborough.
The local authority decided to cancel a planned fireworks display out of concern for the creature’s welfare as it is an endangered species.
But the walrus, who has been called Thor, re-entered the water at around 5pm on New Year's Eve and is now continuing his journey.
Earlier, a spokesman for Scarborough Borough Council said: “We have taken the decision to cancel tonight’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display on the advice of British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), because of the arrival of the walrus ‘Thor’ in the harbour.
“There are concerns that the display could cause distress to the mammal.”
Scarborough Borough Council had planned for a six-minute fireworks display to start at the stroke of midnight from behind Scarborough Spa saying it would:
"add an extra special touch to residents’ festivities and, in support of the local visitor economy, those visiting the area to celebrate the New Year with family and friends."
The display was to be carried out on the council’s behalf by a specialist fireworks company.
Councillor Steve Siddons, leader of the council, said: “We are really disappointed that we’ve had to cancel the fireworks but the welfare of the walrus has to take precedence.
“Our decision is based on expert advice from the BDMLR charity.”
The cordon was put around the walrus, which was spotted in Southampton earlier this month.
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Chris Cook, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area coordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: “We welcome the decision to call off the fireworks but understand that some people will be disappointed the display isn’t going ahead.
“It is extremely rare that an Arctic walrus should come ashore on the Yorkshire coast."