Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Norway euthanized a walrus as tourists kept flocking to it

In a fjord in the Norwegian capital Oslo, a walrus Freya was slaughtered this Sunday as authorities considered it a “threat to human safety”.

“The decision to eliminate it was made based on a global assessment of the threat to human security,” said Frank Bakke-Jensen, head of the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate.

Authorities had announced a few days ago that the 600 kg woman was likely to be euthanized after people requested her to stop coming to see her. “Let Freya live,” the Norwegian Environmental Party then wrote, “experts advised, among other considerations, to move her away from populated areas to pacify her.”

The walrus, a protected species that feeds mainly on invertebrates such as mollusks, shrimps, crabs and small fish, typically lives in more northern latitudes in the Arctic. But Freya (named after the goddess of love and beauty from Norse mythology) was first seen on July 17 in the fjord of the Norwegian capital, and has since become an attraction for the curious.

Between two long naps (these animals can sleep up to 20 hours a day), Freya was filmed sleeping on top of birds of prey and boats sinking under its weight.

“We studied all possible solutions in detail and concluded that we cannot guarantee the welfare of the animal in any way,” explained the head of the Norwegian Directorate for Fisheries.

The fisheries directorate reported that five-year-old Freya’s health had seriously deteriorated, with some experts saying she was suffering from stress. According to this source, moving it “wasn’t a viable option” because of the complexity of the process.

But many experts confirm that the decision to sacrifice it does not respond to the well-being of the walrus. “It’s quite shocking. It was a state of showing consideration for wild animals,” said Siri Martinson, a spokeswoman for the animal protection association Noah, who also believes the decision was made in haste.

And he added: “We could have tried to impose a fine. We must have seen the crowd disappear quickly.”

Although, according to officials, walruses are not a threat to humans, but can attack if they feel threatened. Despite warnings, inquisitive walruses bathed next to or occasionally approached to take photos with minors.

“It is infinitely sad that they have chosen such a beautiful animal simply because we have not treated them well,” said biologist Rune Aye.

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Nation World News Desk
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