A walrus on Rügen: Even long-time residents of the island don’t see that very often. The animal received a corresponding amount of attention – before it moved on on Friday. The fact that it ended up on Rügen at all could also have something to do with climate change.

A short flying visit by a walrus caused a stir on Rügen. After the animal, which was over two meters long, was sighted there on Thursday morning, it swam away again in the evening. This was reported by Michael Dähne, curator for marine mammals at the German Maritime Museum, on Friday. Before that, the animal turned around again briefly. “People were excited. You don’t get an opportunity like that very often.”

According to Dähne, a visit to a beach in the north of Germany’s largest island is a rarity: to his knowledge, it is the first documented sighting in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. And on the German Baltic Sea coast, he immediately found another one north of Lübeck. So far there have only been two or three documented sightings in the inner Baltic Sea.

According to the Maritime Museum, the animal had been reported by an observer. An employee of the museum and a veterinarian immediately set out to inspect it. According to Dähne, it was probably a young female. According to the Maritime Museum, the section of beach was cordoned off to allow the animal to rest undisturbed. Looking at the onlookers, Dähne praised: “They all kept to the barriers very well.”

During assessments, the animal would have looked “fit”, said Dähne. The animal had no noticeable injuries, was fed normally for the time of year and was breathing normally.