A walrus that has attracted crowds of people in Oslo has been put down by Norwegian authorities due to fears it posed a risk to humans.
The 600kg female, known affectionately as Freya, became a popular attraction in Norway in recent weeks despite warnings from officials that people should refrain from getting close and posing for pictures with the massive marine mammal.
Freya liked to clamber on small boats, causing damage to them.
What mischief has Freya been up to?
In a PBS report, Freya was described as having “launched a thousand tweets”.
The 600kg walrus enjoyed “sunbathing, seafood and crushing seafaring vessels”.
She had become a real tourist attraction since arriving in Oslo but also caused a lot of mayhem.
Freya liked to clamber on small boats but unfortunately due to her size and strenght, she often ended up damaging them.
Officials were forced to warn people that they should refrain from getting close to Freya as she posed a risk to people.
Rune Aae from South-Eastern University said: “She is really fat. And she has a lot of food in the area. she’s eating scallops, mussels, so there’s no problem with feeding. She comes from Svalbard, and I guess she want to go back to her flock.”
Why was Freya euthanised?
Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries said Freya was put down early on Sunday “based on an overall assessment of the continued threat to human safety”.
“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,” a spokesperson said.
“Therefore, the directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained.”
Were other options considered?
Walruses are protected and as recently as last month officials said they hoped Freya would leave of her own accord and that euthanasia would be a last resort.
The head of the directorate, Frank Bakke-Jensen, said other options — including moving the animal elsewhere — were considered but authorities concluded it was not a viable option.
“We have sympathies for the fact that the decision can cause reactions with the public, but I am firm that this was the right call,” Mr Bakke-Jensen said. “We have great regard for animal welfare but human life and safety must take precedence.”
Atlantic walruses normally live in the Arctic. It is unusual but not unheard of for them to travel into the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Where did Freya get her name?
The 600kg walrus was named after Freyja, who was one of the gods in the Norse pantheon.
She was associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seeing (seiðr).
How heavy can walruses get?
Freya, the walrus not the God, was noted for her size.
She weighed 600kg in the end, which was part of the reason why she was damaging boats.
However, adult male walruses can reach even bigger sizes and weight.
In the pacific, walruses can weigh up to 2,000kg.