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Norway considers euthanising walrus that won hearts in Oslo fjord

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Norway considers euthanising walrus that won hearts in Oslo fjord
Illustration photo of a walrus. Norway is considering putting down a walrus that has been spotted regularly in Oslo fjord this summer, citing possible danger to the public. Photo by Romy Vreeswijk on Unsplash

Norwegian authorities are considering putting down a walrus that won hearts basking in the sun of the Oslo fjord, amid fears it is putting itself and the public in danger.

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Despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from the walrus -- a young female weighing 600 kilos (1,300 pounds) that has been nicknamed Freya -- the mammal continues to attract big crowds, the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement on Thursday.

Its text was accompanied by a photograph of a group of onlookers crowding near the animal.

"The public's reckless behaviour and failure to follow authorities' recommendations could put lives in danger", a spokeswoman for the fisheries agency, Nadia Jdaini, said.

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"We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative", she added.

Freya, whose name is a reference to the Norse goddess of beauty and love, has made headlines since July 17th when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital.

Walruses normally lives in the even more northerly latitudes of the Arctic.

Between long naps -- a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day -- Freya has been filmed chasing a duck, attacking a swan and, more often than not, dozing on boats struggling to support her bulk.

Despite the recommendations, some curious onlookers have continued to approach her, sometimes with children in tow, to take photographs.

"Her health has clearly declined. The walrus is not getting enough rest and the experts we have consulted now suspect that the animal is stressed," Jdaini said.

A protected species, walruses normally eat molluscs, small fish, shrimps and crabs. 

While they don't normally attack people, they can if they feel threatened, according to authorities.

 

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Anonymous 2022/08/12 19:18
Ridiculous to euthanize a walrus because some persons use poor judgement, even putting their children at risk. Why doesn’t the local authority corden off the area and let only people who live/boat in that area in? Why don’t they relocate Freya? If she is not eating well, why don’t the local authorities provide her with her natural diet? There must be plenty of fishermen/fisheries that have extra shrimp, crab, molluscs, small fish. Besides the fact that Freya is a sentient being, she is protected.

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