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Online campaign raises $20,000 for Freya Walrus statue in Norway – Offbeat News – Report by AFR

An online campaign has raised over $20,000 to build a statue in Norway for Freya, a beloved walrus that officials euthanized over the weekend.

The walrus gained worldwide attention after being spotted basking in the Oslofjord, drawing large crowds eager to see the 600-kilogram marine mammal.

She was struck down on Sunday after officials said she was showing signs of stress and feared she was a threat to the public who were not keeping their distance as required.

As of Wednesday, an online campaign had so far raised 210,000 Norwegian kroner ($21,600) to erect a statue in honor of the young walrus.

The campaign organizer said the statue should remind future generations to protect animals.

“The culling of Freya sends an extremely negative message that Norway, and Oslo in particular, are not able to make room for wild animals,” Erik Holm said on fundraising website Spleis.no.

“By erecting a statue of the symbol that Freya has become in such a short time, we will remind ourselves (and generations to come) that we cannot and should not kill or annihilate nature when it gets in our way .”

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.

She had been making headlines since July 17 when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital.

The walrus is a protected species that typically lives 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 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.

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

Critics said the decision to euthanize the animal was hasty and failed to consider her welfare.

Officials said sedate Freya and move her to a less populated area would be too complex an operation.

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