Freya the walrus euthanized after drawing crowds to Norway fjord

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Freya, a 1,300-pound walrus who spent the summer season lolling about on boats and basking on piers in Oslo fjord, delighting many locals, has been killed by Norwegian authorities who say she was a risk to human security.

Norway’s fisheries directorate stated the choice to euthanize the walrus within the early hours of Sunday native time got here after the general public ignored repeated warnings to maintain their distance from Freya.

“I am firm that this was the right call. We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence,” the pinnacle of Norway’s fisheries directorate, Frank Bakke-Jensen, stated in an announcement.

The younger feminine walrus — nicknamed after the Norse goddess of magnificence and love — has been making a splash within the Norwegian capital since mid-July, apparently lapping up the eye in what some media stories described as her “hot girl summer.” Verdens Gang, a Norwegian tabloid, arrange a 24-hour dwell digicam to movie her exploits.

The choice to euthanize Freya brought on a direct backlash on social media, with many individuals denouncing the choice as a nationwide disgrace. Some raised questions on why authorities didn’t try to maneuver the walrus to a safer space.

Bakke-Jensen stated shifting the marine mammal was totally thought-about, with the assistance of specialists on the Norwegian Institute of Marine Analysis. Authorities concluded that the complexity of the operation meant that “this was not a viable option” he stated. He added that there have been “several animal welfare concerns associated with a possible relocation.” He didn’t element these considerations.

Freya had additionally been sighted alongside the coasts of a number of European nations in current months, together with Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands. (The younger walrus as soon as hitched a lift on a Dutch submarine. Appropriately, it belonged to the Walrus-class of vessels.)

Walruses usually dwell within the ice-covered waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Alaska. There are roughly 25,000 Atlantic walruses and 200,000 Pacific walruses within the wild. They usually relaxation on sea ice between feeding bouts.

The marine mammals are protected in the US. A U.S. attraction court docket final yr dominated the Trump administration acted improperly in its choice to disclaim itemizing the Pacific walrus as threatened or endangered in 2017.

Because the local weather warms, wildlife advocates fear melting sea ice is inflicting walruses to relaxation extra typically on land — and driving them farther from their conventional fishing habitats.

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Walruses are additionally being uncovered to extra delivery, tourism, business and noise, in line with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. The animals are simply spooked and might stampede in an try to succeed in the protection of the water.

In a single current video from Oslo, a trio on a Jet Ski pulled up inside ft of a ship the place Freya was napping, whereas a number of onlookers watched from the jetty. Officers on Sunday revealed a photograph of scores of individuals crowded on a pier inside ft of the animal, their faces blurred for privateness.

“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,” Bakke-Jensen, the Norwegian fisheries official, stated. “The possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained,” he added.

Rune Aae, a researcher on the College of South-Japanese Norway who had been monitoring the walrus through the Fb group “Freya the walrus — where is she now?” criticized Norway’s choice to euthanize Freya as “hasty” and “completely unnecessary.”

College holidays are virtually over for the summer season, and the curious onlookers who’ve gathered to look at the walrus within the waters of Norway’s capital will quickly disperse, Aae wrote Sunday.

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