Authorities have warned that Norway’s beloved walrus Freya may be put to death if people don’t keep a safe distance from it.
The icon of 600kg, named after the Norse goddess, is well-known for her antics, including climbing onto small boats and sinking them using her large frame.
The Norwegian Fisheries Ministry warned that the public was getting too close to the animals, putting their safety at risk and Freya’s welfare.
The department advised that further measures, such as euthanasia, are being considered.
Nadia Jdaini is the senior communications advisor at the Directorate of Fisheries. She stated that “our biggest fear” was that people might get hurt.
“The Directorate of Fisheries believes that public negligence and failure to comply with authorities’ recommendations can put life and health at risk.”
Freya has been bathing alongside other people, and the ministry said that they have evidence of them taking photos near the water’s edge.
As patrol vessels monitor the situation, the ministry is in touch with vets and police to discuss additional measures.
The ministry released images showing Kadettamgen children and adults “up close and personal”, despite warnings.
Freya is a nuisance to some boat owners. However, she has been a popular attraction, receiving almost daily updates from local media regarding her sightings. She is distinctively pink and has a distinct pink spot on her nose.
She was spotted this summer at Oslofjord in the south-east region of Norway.
Concerns about Freya’s condition
Walruses are normally found in large groups in the Arctic, farther north than where she was spotted.
Freya’s celebrity has brought attention to her health. The ministry is now in constant contact with a veterinarian.
Ms Jdaini stated that the walrus doesn’t get enough sleep and that professionals who spoke with the ministry considered her stressed.
Frank Bakke-Jensen is the Director of Fisheries. He said that moving Freya would prove difficult. If she were to be euthanized, it would be because of safety concerns.
Bakke-Jensen stated that it is a wild animal, far removed from its natural habitat. It is also unpredictable as to how it will behave. We ask people to listen to us, take our recommendations seriously, and maintain a distance.
He said that Freya would be killed in the worst possible scenario.