+
upworthy
Science

British town canceled its New Year's Eve fireworks to let Thor the walrus sleep

Scarborough residents rallied to protect their unexpected visitor.

walrus, wildlife, U.K.

A walrus decided to park it for a while in the town of Scarborough.

There are plenty of predictable reasons a New Year's Eve fireworks show might get canceled, but "let's let the walrus sleep" isn't one of them.

That's exactly what happened in the U.K. town of Scarborough, however, as residents rang in 2023.

According to British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a walrus was sighted on a boat ramp in Scarborough around 11:30 p.m. on December 30. The wildlife rescuers had hoped that the male walrus—nicknamed Thor—would rest for a bit and then slip back into the harbor by the time the public woke up the next morning. Instead, he got comfy and decided to park it for a while.

Authorities cordoned off the area to prevent anyone from messing with Thor, and as news spread of the walrus's presence, thousands of people came to see him. It's not every day that an Arctic walrus shows up in the middle of a British town.


"Kind public asked many questions, offered and bought hot drinks and food, and expressed their appreciation of Thor being protected, with the overwhelming majority being immeasurably respectful to our visitor," shared British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

During the night, Thor appeared to be agitated by some passing cars and lights, which led wildlife rescuers and local council members to reconsider the town's New Year's Eve fireworks show. Not wanting to cause stress to the walrus, they agreed to cancel the fireworks display "without hesitation."

The Sea Life Scarborough aquarium shared a photo of Thor resting near the water along with a request to the public.

"Please be respectful of his rest and try not to disturb him. While it is a very exciting opportunity for us, naturally they do not like lots of noise and are not familiar with domestic animals so please keep pets on leads and remain a safe distance for your own welfare and his. Hopefully within a few days he will have got enough rest to move on and continue his adventures North!"

As it turns out, Thor did return to the sea after his respite in Scarborough and showed up in Blyth, another British town 70 miles north of Scarborough, a couple of days later.

Dan Jarvis, director of welfare and conservation at the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, told the BBC that Thor was "heading in the right direction," which is good, but that walruses increasingly being seen in European waters could be a sign of climate change causing a loss of sea ice. Walruses feed mainly on cockles, clams and mussels on the seafloor, but they use sea ice to rest and to digest their meals. With less sea ice in their habitat, they may wander to find land on which to rest.

Having a walrus interacting with humans can also lead to tragedy for either people or the walrus. Freya, a wandering walrus who kept hoisting herself onto boats around Northern Europe in the summer of 2022, was euthanized by Norwegian authorities who deemed her a danger to the public.

As climate change creates more and more unexpected wildlife encounters, people will have to defer to experts on how to handle them. But when it comes to fireworks, even local wildlife and pets can find them stressful. Fireworks displays have been shown to cause panic responses in birds and can result in pets trying to flee otherwise familiar environments out of fear. And according to The Humane Society, "Wildlife rehabilitation centers are often flooded with traumatized, injured and orphaned wild animals after the holiday." As an alternative, many cities are exploring replacing fireworks with drone light displays.

Kudos to the town of Scarborough for putting the well-being of Thor ahead of its traditional New Year's Eve celebration, and kudos to the public as well for heeding the call to not disturb the walrus during his respite. Here's hoping Thor continues his way north and makes it back to his Arctic home safe and sound.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photos by Daniela on Unsplash (left) and Rens D on Unsplash (right)

Peeling garlic is notoriously challenging.

If you ever cook with fresh garlic, you know what a challenge it can be to remove the cloves from the skin cleanly, especially if you're starting with a full head.

There are various methods people use to peel garlic, with varying levels of success. Doing it by hand works, but will leave you with garlic-smelling fingertips for the better part of a day. Whacking the head on the counter helps separate the cloves from each other, but doesn't help much with removing the skin.

Some people swear by vigorously shaking the skinned cloves around in a covered bowl or jarred lid, which can be surprisingly effective. Some smash the clove with the flat side of a knife to loosen it and then pull it off. Others utilize a rubber roller to de-skin the cloves.

But none of these methods come close to the satisfaction of watching someone perfectly peeling an entire head of garlic with a pair of tongs.

Keep ReadingShow less

Teen with size 23 feet receives new shoes from Shaq

Any adult responsible for raising a teen will tell you that not only do teens eat a lot and sleep nearly as much as they did as infants, they also grow quickly. Sometimes it feels like their growth spurts are literally happening overnight. You go to sleep with a squeaky voiced teenager that's still shorter than you only to wake up to what appears to be a fully grown man wearing your child's clothes.

It's no wonder that parents can have a hard time keeping up with the ever changing clothes and shoe sizes that come with a growing teen. But Tamika Neal's son has surpassed what would be considered the average height and weight of a 16-year-old, which means he's also outgrown sizes carried in the stores.

According to Cincinnati Children's Hospital, boys aged 16 are typically between 5-foot-3 and 6-foot, weighing between 104 to 180 pounds. Jor'el Bolden is a towering 6-foot-5 and 380 pounds with a size 23 shoe.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Erin Bailey Law (used with permission) and Monstera Production/Pexels

Erin Bailey has taken a hard stand on sleepovers.

A mother who’s a criminal defense attorney is going viral on TikTok for a hard stance she has taken on her children going to sleepovers. For Erin Bailey of South Carolina, the answer is a big no. The reason? There are too many variables that could make her children vulnerable to sexual assault.

Bailey has a practice in Georgetown and is ranked among the Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers in South Carolina by the National Trial Lawyers.

"I don’t allow my children to go to sleepovers. I’m a criminal attorney and here’s why,” she opens the video. “First and primary is the S.A. [sexual assault] risk. While you may feel like you know the parents who are hosting the sleepover really well, and you know and love and trust them, that's exactly who's committing S.A.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Harold Krichel, Wikipedia/Representative Image from Canva

Anne Hathaway hilariously tries to sit in a tight latex dress during Fashion Week in Milan

Anne Hathaway might have played fashion-oblivious Andrea Sachs in “Devil Wears Prada,” but nowadays, in real life (or at least on the red carpet) she’s more on the level of Miranda Priestley—turning heads at every event with showstopping looks.

However, no matter how high her status as a fashion icon rises, the “Princess Diaries” actress still holds onto her humility.

Case and point: she has no problem sharing what it’s really like to wear certain designer dresses. Spoiler alert: it’s not quite as effortless as the fashionistas make it look.

Keep ReadingShow less