Popular wild walrus euthanized by Norwegian authorities

Popular wild walrus euthanized by Norwegian authorities

The walrus that became a beloved interloper in Norway’s Oslo fjord was euthanized by authorities on Sunday.

Nicknamed Freya, the female walrus was often seen sun-bathing around harbors in the fjord, including on docked boats that were damaged by her 1,300-pound weight, according to multiple reports.

Onlookers have been flocking to get a close-up of the visitor ever since the animal first made headlines in mid-July. 

After repeated warnings from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries that such attention could cause the animal to be put down, the agency said in a news release that it decided to do so Sunday morning out of concern for human safety.

“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,” Director General of Fisheries Frank Bakke-Jensen said. “We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence.”

The agency said they had explored finding a way to move Freya, but the complexity of such a task convinced authorities that humanely euthanizing the walrus was the best path forward. 

Walruses typically reside further north in the Arctic Circle and can nap for up to 20 hours a day, though it’s not unheard of for them to venture into the North and Baltic seas.

A spokesperson for the Directorate of Fisheries told the Guardian on Thursday that the public’s infatuation with Freya had disturbed her rest and caused the animal’s health to decline.