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Norway Euthanizes Freya The Walrus For Drawing Crowds

BallerAlert logo BallerAlert 8/15/2022 ErinBoogie

A walrus that attracted crowds of people in Oslo, Norway, has sadly been euthanized after authorities concluded it posed a risk to humans. 

The 1,300 lb. female walrus, known as Freya, had become popular this summer for sinking boats. Authorities had cautioned people to stay away from  Freya and refrain from trying to pose for pictures with her, but nevertheless, the crowds persisted.

“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,” said a statement from Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries. “Therefore, the Directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high, and animal welfare was not being maintained.”

Walruses are protected animals, and officials had hoped that Freya would leave the area on her own. Euthanasia was considered a last resort, and other options were considered.

“We have sympathies for the fact that the decision can cause a reaction from the public, but I am firm that this was the right call,” Frank Bakke-Jensen, the head of the directorate, said. “We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence.”

While unusual, it is not unheard of for Atlantic walruses to travel from the Arctic into the North and Baltic Seas. It is believed that Freya traveled about 1,200 before reaching Norway’s shores.

Climate change causing ice melt has forced walruses to hunt on land where there is more competition for food. 


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