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Walrus that drew crowds in Oslofjord was euthanized

#Walrus #drew #crowds #Oslofjord #euthanized

A walrus, nicknamed Freya, which drew crowds while sunning itself in the Oslofjord, was euthanized on Sunday, with Norwegian officials saying it was the only option, but experts suggested an “endlessly sad” decision.

“The decision to euthanize was made on the basis of a global assessment of the ongoing threat to human security,” the head of Norway’s Fisheries Directorate, Frank Bakke-Jensen, said in a statement.

“We have carefully considered all possible solutions. We have concluded that we cannot guarantee the welfare of the animal by any means available,” he said.

Officials earlier said they were considering euthanasia because repeated appeals to the public to distance themselves from the 600-kilogram young woman had been in vain and she was under undue stress.

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

Walruses typically live in the even more northerly latitudes of the Arctic.

Between long naps in the sun — a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day — Freya was filmed chasing a duck, attacking a swan and mostly dozing on boats struggling to carry her bulk.

Despite repeated appeals, curious onlookers continued to approach the mammal, sometimes with children in tow, for photos.

– “Incredibly sad” –

Experts said the decision to euthanize Freya did not take the animal’s welfare into account.

Siri Martinsen, a spokeswoman for animal rights group NOAH, told TV channel TV2 that the action was hasty and fines should have been imposed to disperse viewers.

“It’s very shocking,” she added, saying it’s an opportunity to show people how to respect wild animals.

“It’s incredibly sad that they decided to put down such a beautiful animal simply because we didn’t behave well with it,” biologist Rune Aae told NTB news agency.

The Greens said earlier this week experts had recommended giving Freya sedatives and taking her away from populated areas or taking her back to the remote Svalbard archipelago.

However, Bakke-Jensen said it was “not a viable option” because such an operation would be too complex.

Freya, estimated to be around five years old, had already been spotted in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden and decided to spend part of the summer in Norway.

Freya first came to prominence in Norway climbing on pleasure boats in Kragero, a quaint village on the south coast.

The walrus is a protected species that feeds primarily on invertebrates such as mollusks, shrimp, crabs, and small fish.

Walruses are not usually aggressive toward humans, but they may feel threatened by intruders and attack.

An operation this week to rescue a stranded beluga in France’s Seine also ended with the animal being euthanized.

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#Walrus #drew #crowds #Oslofjord #euthanized

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