Norway euthanizes Freya, movie star walrus that captured hearts, drew crowds – Nationwide | Globalnews.ca

Norway euthanizes Freya, celebrity walrus that captured hearts, drew crowds - National | Globalnews.ca

2022-08-16 00:29:09

The Norwegian authorities euthanized Freya the walrus early Sunday morning citing security issues after the general public didn’t heed warnings to avoid her.

“The choice to euthanize the walrus was made based mostly on an general evaluation of the continued menace to human security,” Frank Bakke-Jensen, the director common of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, mentioned in a press launch.

“Extremely expert and educated personnel executed the order in conduct with present routines and rules for euthanasia for marine mammals.”

Freya, a 600-kilogram walrus named after the Norse goddess of affection and wonder, turned a social media star this summer time after being repeatedly sighted round Oslo’s harbour. She made a reputation for herself by dozing on moored boats and sinking them below the burden of her cumbersome body.

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Kathrine Ryeng, a veterinary medication scientist at Norway’s Institute of Marine Analysis, advised NBC Information that Freya was doubtless selecting to sleep, loosen up and digest meals on empty boats as a result of they reminded her of Arctic ice floes.

Consultants consider that Freya left her pure habitat within the Arctic Circle and swam south as environmental degradation will increase competitors for meals amongst walrus populations. Ryeng posited that Freya had developed a style for the Pacific oyster, and was selecting to spend time alongside Norway’s coast the place the invasive species was most concentrated.

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“If Freya truly eats this delicacy, she may show to be a useful resource for administration by limiting unfold and clearing the inhabitants,” mentioned marine researcher Lars-Johan Naustvoll, who was concerned in mapping concentrations of Pacific oysters round Norway.

Initially, the Directorate of Fisheries mentioned that “euthanasia is out of the query” and “the final choice” for Freya as walruses are a protected species in Norway.

However on Thursday, the company warned it was contemplating euthanizing the movie star walrus because it had noticed Freya’s followers swimming along with her and getting dangerously shut. Some individuals had even thrown objects at Freya, based on the information launch.

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A photograph shared by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries exhibiting a big crowd of individuals dangerously near Freya the walrus.


Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries

“The Directorate of Fisheries’ evaluation is that the general public’s negligent behaviour and failure to comply with the suggestions from the authorities can endanger life and well being,” mentioned Nadia Jdaini, senior communications adviser of the Directorate of Fisheries.

“Animal welfare is clearly weakened. The walrus doesn’t get sufficient relaxation and the professionals we’re in dialogue with contemplate her to be careworn.”

The company mentioned it “thought of all doable options fastidiously” earlier than deciding to euthanize Freya. It claims that no different plan of motion may have ensured her security, together with relocating Freya away from the busy capital metropolis.

“The intensive complexity of such an operation made us conclude that this was not a viable choice. There have been a number of animal welfare issues related to a doable relocation,” Bakke-Jensen mentioned. “I’m agency that this was the appropriate name. We have now nice regard for animal welfare, however human life and security should take priority.”

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Rune Aae, a doctoral pupil in science didactics on the College of Southern-Jap Norway, has been monitoring Freya’s actions since 2019 on an interactive, on-line map and he condemns the federal government’s choice as “too hasty.”

In a Fb put up, Aae mentioned that Freya doubtless would have left the waters round Oslo quickly, “so euthanasia was, for my part, fully pointless.”

Aae added that Fisheries had a patrol boat monitoring Freya to guard the general public’s security and that the tip of summer time would imply fewer individuals round to trouble her.

Although Freya did sink a couple of boats, she didn’t trigger any reported accidents.

“What a disgrace!” Aae wrote. “That is simply unhappy!”

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