Freya the walrus is put down over concerns for public safety in Norway: Huge 1,300lb animal is euthanised due to ‘potential harm to people’ after crowds swam with ‘stressed’ animal and coaxed it to shore for selfies
- Beloved sea mammal Freya became a local celebrity when she first came to Oslo
- She was filmed by adoring Norwegians chasing a duck and sleeping 20h a day
- But despite warnings that she could be euthanised, public continued to swarm
- That put people in harm’s way, fisheries director said, confirming humane killing
Norway’s beloved Freya the walrus has been put down because she posed ‘a continued threat to human safety’, officials have confirmed.
Freya won the public’s hearts basking in the sun of the Oslo fjord, climbing into boats and getting up-close with tourists.
But despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from Freya – a young female weighing 1,300 pounds – the mammal continued to attract big crowds.
Walruses rarely attack humans, but are certainly strong enough to pose a danger.
Fisheries director Frank Bakke-Jensen said: ‘Through on-site observations the past week it was made clear that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus.
Freya became an instant hit when she first appeared in the waters near Oslo (image from July)
Fisheries director Frank Bakke-Jensen confirmed that Freya was put down humanely
Between long naps – a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day – Freya was filmed chasing a duck
‘Therefore, the Directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained.
‘We have considered all possible solutions carefully. We concluded that we could not ensure the animals welfare through any means available.
‘We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence.
‘The operation was conducted in a humane fashion.’
Freya, whose name is a reference to the Norse goddess of beauty and love, has made headlines since July 17 when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital.
The directorate uploaded this image of irresponsible Norwegians putting themselves at risk
Between long naps – a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day – Freya has been filmed chasing a duck, attacking a swan and, more often than not, dozing on boats struggling to support her bulk.
Despite the recommendations, some curious onlookers have continued to approach her, sometimes with children in tow, to take photographs.
The Directorate had warned on Friday: ‘The fact that the walrus has become an attraction escalates the need for further measures. Our biggest fear is that people could get hurt…
‘We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative.’
Freya climbed into boats repeatedly as they were strong enough to support her as she slept
Walruses normally live in the more northerly latitudes of the Arctic.
‘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.
A protected species, walruses normally eat molluscs, small fish, shrimps and crabs.
While they don’t normally attack people, they can if they feel threatened, according to authorities.
In 2016 a Walrus killed a man at a Chinese zoo while he was taking pictures.
Businessman Jia Lijun had visited the park alone and was taking videos and pictures to put on his social media account when the walrus, which reportedly weighed nearly 1.5 tonnes, grabbed him from behind.