Freya the walrus euthanized after drawing crowds to Norway fjord

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Freya, a 1,300-pound walrus who spent the summer hanging out on boats and basking on piers in the Oslo fjord, much to the delight of many local residents, has been murdered by Norwegian authorities, who say she posed a threat to human life. safety.

Norway’s fisheries board said the decision to euthanize the walrus in the early hours of Sunday local time came after the public ignored repeated warnings to keep their distance from Freya.

“I am convinced that this was the right decision. We have great respect for animal welfare, but human life and safety must come first,” the head of Norway’s fisheries directorate, Frank Bakke-Jensen, said in a statement.

The young female walrus — nicknamed after the Norse goddess of beauty and love — has been making waves in the Norwegian capital since mid-July, apparently drawing attention in what some media reports are describing as her “hot girl summer.” Verdens Gang, a Norwegian tabloid, set up a 24-hour live camera to film her exploits.

The decision to euthanize Freya immediately caused a reaction on social media, from many people to denounce the decision as a national disgrace. Some wondered why authorities didn’t try to move the walrus to a safer area.

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Bakke-Jensen said moving the marine mammal has been thoroughly considered, with the help of experts from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. Authorities concluded that the complexity of the operation meant that “this was not a viable option,” he said.

He added that there were “several animal welfare concerns related to a potential move.” He gave no details about those concerns.

Freya had also been sighted along the coasts of several European countries in recent months, including Great Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands. (The young walrus ever) hitchhiked on a Dutch submarine. It rightly belonged to the Walrus class of ships.)

Walruses normally live in the ice-covered waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Alaska. There are approximately 25,000 Atlantic walruses and 200,000 Pacific walruses in the wild. They usually rest on sea ice between feeding periods.

The marine mammals are protected in the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled last year that the Trump administration acted improperly in its decision to deny the list of the Pacific walrus as endangered or threatened in 2017.

As the climate warms, wildlife advocates worry that melting sea ice is causing walruses to rest on land more often — driving them further from their traditional fishing habitats.

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Walruses are also exposed to increased shipping, tourism, industry and noise, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The animals are easily startled and may run amok in an attempt to reach the safety of the water.

In a recent video from Oslo, a trio on a jet ski stopped inside the base of a boat where Freya was napping, while several onlookers watched from the jetty. Officials released a photo on Sunday of dozens of people standing on a pier steps away from the animal, their faces blurred for privacy.

“Observations on the ground over the past week made it clear that the public has ignored the current recommendation to keep a clear distance from the walrus,” Bakke-Jensen said. “The potential for harm to humans was high and animal welfare was not maintained,” he added.

Rune Aae, a researcher at the University of Southeast Norway who followed the walrus through the Facebook group “Freya the walrus – where is she now?” criticized Norway’s decision to euthanize Freya as “hasty” and “completely redundant .”

The school holidays are almost over for summer, and the curious onlookers who have gathered to observe the walruses in the waters of the Norwegian capital will soon part, Aae wrote Sunday.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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