Norway euthanizes Freya the walrus in Oslo

Officials said people kept approaching Freya, which posed a security risk.

OSLO, Norway — Authorities in Norway have euthanized a walrus that had drawn crowds in the Oslofjord after concluding it posed a risk to humans.

The 1,320-pound female walrus, affectionately known as Freya, has become a popular attraction in Norway in recent weeks, despite warnings from officials that people should refrain from approaching the giant marine mammal and posing for photos. Freya liked to climb on small boats and harm them.

Walruses are being protected and as recently as last month officials said they hoped Freya would go of her own accord and that euthanasia would be the last resort.

The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said Freya was struck down early Sunday “based on an overall assessment of the ongoing threat to human security”.

“Observations at the site over the past week have shown that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance from the walrus,” it said. “Therefore, Management concluded that the possibility of potential harm to humans was high and animal welfare was not being upheld.”

Directorate head Frank Bakke-Jensen said other options – including moving the animal elsewhere – were being considered. But authorities concluded that was not a viable option.

“We understand that the decision may provoke a reaction from the public, but I firmly believe that this was the right decision,” said Bakke-Jensen. “We care deeply about animal welfare, but human life and safety must come first.”

Atlantic walruses typically live in the Arctic. It is unusual, but not uncommon, for them to travel to the North and Baltic Seas. Another walrus, nicknamed Wally, was spotted on beaches and even a lifeboat dock in Wales and elsewhere last year.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/norway-puts-down-freya-walrus/507-a9ac0a6e-fbaa-46c4-8768-44af5d4634c9 Norway euthanizes Freya the walrus in Oslo

Alley Einstein

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