‘Why the rush?’ Biologist about killing walrus Freya (INTERVIEW)

The Animal Reader talked to Norwegian biologist Rune Aae about the killing of walrus Freya. Early Sunday morning, Freya was shot and killed by the Norwegian government, citing “human safety” reasons. 

“There are so many things they (the Norwegian government) could have done. They could have enforced some blockage around her (Freya). They could have fined people that were disturbing her,” Aae said. 

“They could maintain a website in which people could put information about the location of Freya so you could tell when she’s around,” he added. “There are so many things they could have done prior to killing, but we only got one day.”

With ‘only one day’, Aae refers to the time the Norwegian government gave from warning the public they would kill her if people kept coming close to Freya to actually killing her early Sunday morning. 

It’s especially strange the government choose to kill her, because “now the rain is going to come, so there will be no confrontation between Freya and swimmers. So why the rush? I really don’t understand this.”

“Normally, when you’re killing a seal or a walrus, you use a riffle,” Aae said about the possible way in which Freya was killed. The Norwegian government hasn’t given any details on killing her and where her body is now. 

Aae saw Freya many times and created a Google Maps with all the places she had visited in the past two years. 

He said learning about her death has been hard on him: “My body was empty. So a really hard time to get up this morning. Yesterday was awful too, and I cried a lot. So this was a real shock.”

“There was nothing wrong with walrus Freya. She was a nice young lady. She was in good health, good mood. Everything was fine with Freya. So I’m really sad on her behalf. What we did to her. That was really not nice.”

Monday night, the Norwegian prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, told news outlet NRK that killing Freya “was the right decision. I am not surprised that this has led to many international reactions. Sometimes we have to make unpopular decisions.” 

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