If a sleeping walrus took a nap during your New Year’s Eve party, would you wake him up?
Think about it for a moment if you need to, but we’re pretty sure you’ll come up with the same answer as the English seaside town that faced this same choice: No.
(If you said yes: Have you ever seen a walrus? They have huge tusks, weigh thousands of pounds and roar like demons. Please reconsider.)
Residents of Scarborough, in the northeast of England, discovered a male walrus lazing near the town harbor on Dec. 30. Wildlife experts called to the scene advised authorities to just leave him alone.
Further, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue service recommended the town cancel its New Year’s fireworks display to avoid “distress” for the walrus, according to Sky News. Onlookers were advised to stay away from the walrus while he rested, too.
Nevertheless, crowds gathered to spy on the snoozing creature, nicknamed Thor.
It’s an appropriate moniker for the massive mammal, an Arctic native. Walruses are not typically found as far south as the U.K., but the adventurous Thor was previously spotted on the northern coast of France.
His visit to Scarborough marks the first-ever walrus sighting in the English county of North Yorkshire. And while it was a fun diversion — one local compared the number of excited walrus watchers to summertime crowds — it could be another sign of climate change.
“The Arctic is witnessing the effects of climate change more rapidly than anywhere,” Rod Downie, chief polar advisor for the World Wildlife Fund, told the BBC after an earlier sighting. “Walruses are living on the front line … and face massive threats as sea ice diminishes.”
There’s good news, though: After spending a restful day in Scarborough, Thor scooted back into the sea — and emerged on another U.K. beach farther north. For another nap, of course.
Like the rest of us, Thor’s holiday is over and he’s heading home. He’s just taking his time!