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Family Finds Walrus in Iceland’s West Fjords

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Family Finds Walrus in Iceland’s West Fjords

A family of three who were traveling in the Strandir region in the eastern West Fjords spotted a walrus in Ófeigsfjördur fjord on Saturday. They first mistook it for driftwood. Walruses don’t live in Icelandic waters and rarely drift ashore.

“We did not expect to see a walrus,” Ágústa, who spotted the walrus with her husband Róbert and his nine-year-old son, Mikael, told Fréttabladid. (Their surnames were not mentioned in the article). “Like Mikael said, ‘You expect to see a polar bear and then you find a walrus. What’s next? Dinosaurs?’”

“It was lying in the grass and appeared to be sick. There was pink foam coming out of its mouth. To begin with it growled at us and tried to turn around but when we had been there for some time it didn’t react to us being near it,” Ágústa said.

Ágústa said they had not been frightened of the walrus. “It was just exciting. It fitted in so well with the environment; there is so much driftwood there. We had seen it from a long distance and assumed that there was a huge block of wood lying there.”

“You never know what you’ll meet in Strandir, that’s for sure,” Ágústa said. She estimates that the walrus is 1.2 meters high lying down, weighing at least one ton. The travelers notified the nearest farmer in Ófeigsfjördur, Pétur Gudmundsson.

“It died on Saturday, the poor thing. I can’t get rid of it, so it just has to rot there. I guess it will become good food for foxes,” Gudmundsson said, adding that a walrus last swam ashore on his land 15 years ago.

Biologist Róbert Stefánsson said the walrus had probably come from Greenland or Svalbard. The last walrus that was spotted in Iceland drifted ashore in Arnarfjördur fjord on July 2005, also in the West Fjords.

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