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The mystery of spotted mollusks on the rocks off the coast of Wales | Behavior of animals

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Imay have been the mismatch of mollusks returning to the Welsh coast. Or maybe it was the discovery that the creature seemed to be on a tour of the British Isles and the Irish Islands while the human population remained stuck, their chances of an alien escape diminishing every day. Maybe it was just a sense of connection: the lost and clumsy animal a reflection of a nation at sea amid the Covid waves.

Whatever the reason, the Atlantic juvenile spotted on the Pembrokeshire coast has become a celebrity, with some suggesting that it should be called Wally.

Maybe it’s either off the east coast of Greenland or from Svalbard, one of those stocks, said Lucy Babey, head of science and conservation at the marine conservation charity Orca.

Babey said while he was not yet sure if the spotted orthosis in Wales is the same mammal seen a week ago on rocks in County Kerry, Ireland, it is likely.

But the Irish band Whale and Dolphin says it’s a match. The IWDG can confirm that it is the same animal due to the white markings on the left finger and the length of the twilight, they tweeted, adding that meant the cow had covered 450 km (280 miles) within six days.

Quite why the guinea pig ended up so far in the south remains a mystery. While some suggest the animal may have swum on the ice, Babey said the animal may simply have sought food, or been disturbed, for example by noise, and sent off course.

It is not the first molica to appear suddenly, though views around the British and Irish islands are rare. Since 1979 there have been eight confirmed sightings of mollusks in Ireland, Babey said, adding that they have also appeared in Scotland. It was one in 2018 that was seen up there on different islands, traveling for several months.

But as the penguins found on Brazil’s beaches were airlifted to cooler waters, Babey said it would not be wise to try such a mission with a manatee, noting that the animal was large and would had to calm down due to the stress that such a procedure would cause. What has happened in the past is just observing them and the animals have simply disappeared, so you hope they swim and find the right place, she said.

Richard Sabin, chief curator of mammals at the Museum of Natural History, said mollusks were not the only Arctic animals found taking on a bizarre excursion: in 1949 two narwhals, creatures often called sea unicorns, were found in the Thames and Medway, while in 2018 a beluga whale returned from Gravesend to Kent.

The beluga whale is an Arctic species that, like the sea cow, has received a fairly extensive diet and like the cow will tend to go where the food is, he said.

Chiara Giulia Bertulli, an observation officer at the Sea Watch Foundation, added that beluga and arched whales are two Arctic species that have appeared in the national charity database, with the latter reported in 2015 around the Scilly Islands and again in 2016, this time away from Mounts Bay in Cornwall and Carlingford Lough in Ireland.

Arched whales have been reported from the coasts of countries including France, Belgium and the Netherlands. European views can represent the same single individual, Bertulli said.

Sabin said: An increase in population size due to lack of commercial exploitation may be one of the reasons why we are seeing these animals appearing outside their usual boundaries.

He added that cases of Arctic visitors should be carefully monitored, noting that they do not appear to be becoming more common on their own, although sightings may now be reported more frequently due to the rise of official surveys of observations. However he said they should also be enjoyed though from a distance.

Babey agreed, noting that the young guinea pig that was seen in Wales was the size of a cow.

Do not approach the animal. Keep a really safe distance. They are very, very sensitive, she said. This animal will be quite exhausted by all its notes. It will probably be stressed as it is not in an environment where it is taught.



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