Beloved Walrus Named Freya Killed by Norwegian Government Over Safety Concerns

Image via Getty
Image via Getty

A beloved walrus was euthanized on Sunday morning after the Norwegian government determined the 1,320-pound mammal posed a risk to humans, CNN reports.

As reported by CNN, the news arrives after Norwegian officials warned the public to stay away from the walrus, named Freya, who became a national attraction in recent months as she traveled the country’s coastline, climbing onto small boats to sunbathe.

“The decision to euthanize the walrus was made based on an overall assessment of the continued threat to human safety,” Frank Bakke-Jenson, the director general at the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, said in a press release.

“Through on-site observations the past week it was made clear that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus,” Bakke-Jenson added. “Therefore, the Directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained.”

Bakke-Jenson went on to maintain that, though the government is aware their decision will incite backlash, he believes “this was the right call.”

“We have sympathies for the fact that the decision can cause reactions with the public, but I am firm that this was the right call,” Bakke-Jensen continued. “We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence.” The directorate included a photo of a large crowd seemingly just feet away from Freya in its release.