Norway considers killing walrus Freya

Freya the walrus climbs on white boat
Freya the walrus climbs into a boat in Frognerkilen bay, Oslo, Norway July 20, 2022, credit: NTB/Trond Reidar Teigen via Reuters

The walrus Freya who has been winning harts in Oslofjord might be put down if the public doesn’t stay away from her, Norwegian authorities said on Thursday.

Freya has been enjoying the sun in the bay, climbing into boats and lying on the beach, attracting big crowds. The Fisheries Directorate said in a statement that even though they asked the public to stay away from the young female weighing 600 kilos (1,300 pounds), they don’t listen. A picture of a group of people crowding near the animal was added to the statement.

“The public’s reckless behaviour and failure to follow authorities’ recommendations could put lives in danger”, Nadia Jdaini, a spokeswoman for the fisheries agency, said. “We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative.”

Since July 17, Freya, a reference to the Norse goddess of love and beauty, has made headlines when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital. Walruses typically live in the northern regions of the Arctic.

Despite the recommendations to leave Freya alone and not disturb her, some people have continued to approach her to take photographs. “Her health has clearly declined. The walrus is not getting enough rest, and the experts we have consulted now suspect that the animal is stressed,” Jdaini said.

Walrusses eat small fish, snails, shrimps and crabs and are not known for attacking people, but Norwegian authorities said they can if they feel threatened; this happens mostly when you disturb their herd or get near their young, which isn’t the case for Freya.

Since the news broke that authorities might kill Freya, people started urging the public to stay away from her. “I’m gonna be so angry if Freya (our celebrity walrus) gets euthanized because of people bothering her while not listening to the “leave her alone” advice,” Mali said on Twitter.

In September last year, Freya was also spotted in the Netherlands, and swam past Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom. “So because people can’t behave, the animal has to die?” Jenniek wrote on Twitter.

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