Norway euthanizes the walrus Freya after people refuse to stay away

Norwegian authorities euthanized the walrus Freya (Image: Getty)

A walrus that became a tourist attraction in Norway has been euthanized after people repeatedly ignored requests to stay away.

The 600kg animal, named Freya, became a social media sensation over the summer after a series of viral videos emerged of her jumping onto boats to sunbathe – sometimes even capsizing them in the process.

Unlike most other walruses, Freya was not afraid of people, and her antics drew large groups of people to the Oslo Fjord, putting both them and herself in danger.

Last week, the Directorate of Fisheries warned the public to keep their distance following reports of people swimming with the walrus, throwing objects at it and getting dangerously close to pose for photos.

On one occasion, police were forced to cordon off a bathing area after the walrus chased a woman into the water, according to local media.

Ultimately, the directorate made the decision to euthanize Freya after a photo surfaced of her surrounded by a crowd, including several children.

– The decision to cull the walrus was made based on an overall assessment of the continued threat to human safety, said Frank Bakke-Jensen, Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries, in a statement.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on 19 July 2022, a young walrus nicknamed Freya rests on a boat in Frognerkilen, Oslofjord.  - The Norwegian authorities announced on 11 August 2022 that they are considering euthanizing Freya the walrus, which has become such a summer star in the Oslofjord that it endangers the lives of both the public and the animal.  (Photo by Tor Erik Schr??der / NTB / AFP) / Norway OUT (Photo by TOR ERIK SCHRDER/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

The unusually friendly walrus became a social media star (Image: Getty)

Freya's growing celebrity status began to attract large groups of people (Image: Fiskeridirektoratet)

Freya’s growing celebrity status began to attract large groups of people (Image: Fiskeridirektoratet)

“Through on-site observations over the past week, it has become clear that the public has been ignoring the current advice to keep a clear distance from the walrus,” he continued.

“Therefore, the directorate concluded, the possibility of potential harm to humans was high and animal welfare was not maintained.”

He added that other options had been considered, including moving Freya out of the fjord, but they were discarded out of concern for Freya’s welfare.

Freya, named after the Norse goddess of beauty and love, had been making headlines since she was first spotted in the Norwegian capital in July.

Although they usually live in the Arctic Circle, walruses will typically migrate between several different shallow waters during the summer months, and Freya had already been spotted in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden earlier this year before finally making her way to Oslo. .


Freya was euthanized due to public safety concerns (Image: Getty)

Generally, walruses are wary of humans and stay on the edges of coastal areas.

“Usually walruses will appear on some islands, but they leave pretty soon, because they are afraid of people,” said Rune Aae, a biology professor who had studied Freya’s movements.

But Freya is not afraid of people, he added. “Actually, I think she likes people. So that’s why she’s not leaving.

In a Facebook post after Freya’s death, Aae condemned the directorate as “too hasty” in their decision to put her down.

He said they had their own boat following her movements and impending rainfall would drive away crowds and give Freya a chance to leave the fjord on her own.

“Freya would sooner or later have gotten out of the Oslofjord, as all previous experience has shown, so killing her was, in my view, completely unnecessary,” he wrote.

“Norway is the country that killed Freya after being around the entire North Sea for over two years. Too Bad!’

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