A town in northeast England called off its New Year's Eve fireworks to avoid distressing a very unusual visitor—Thor, a walrus that arrived Friday night. "We are really disappointed that we've had to cancel the fireworks but the welfare of the walrus has to take precedence," Scarborough council leader Steve Siddons said, per the BBC. He said the decision was made on the advice of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group, which had been monitoring the adolescent male walrus. Experts said the walrus was probably taking a rest in Scarborough on his way back to Arctic waters. The BDMLR praised the cancellation of fireworks as an "incredible step forward for animal welfare which has been tremendously backed by the public, official parties, and the media."
Thor was the first walrus spotted in the seaside town in living memory, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports. He is believed to be the same walrus that was seen in Hampshire on England's south coast around three weeks ago. After sleeping on a slipway in Scarborough for most of the day, attracting thousands of visitors who were kept behind a police cordon, Thor returned to the North Sea on Saturday evening. He reappeared Monday in Blyth, around 70 miles north of Scarborough, where he spent the day resting in the harbor, the BBC reports. The BDMLR said he appeared to be healthy and would hopefully resume his journey on Tuesday. (Read more walruses stories.)