Norway’s Freya the walrus euthanized amid ‘fears for public’s safety’

Freya, the walrus that made the news in salmon circles last December for the adorable pictures of her napping at a salmon farm in Shetland, has been euthanized amidst fears for the public’s safety.

The walrus was a fixture in Norway’s coast for years, but last December, it was found hauled out on a salmon cage off Vementry – hundreds of miles from her Arctic home. She was an attraction wherever she strayed and became a social media celebrity.

But officials of Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries said they made the decision to put the animal down on August 14 after observing that “the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus.”

Photo taken on August 10 of Freya and members of the public. Photo: Directorate of Fisheries

“The Directorate has concluded the possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained,” it said in a statement.

Niall McCann, the conservation director of the non-profit National Park Rescue who shared the news on LinkedIn on Wednesday, condemned the killing of the 1,300-lb social media star.

“How could someone make such an obviously terrible decision? How could we be so removed from nature that ‘kill it’ was seen as the best course of action? And how can we, in the global north, lecture people in the global south about living alongside genuinely dangerous animals, when this is how we respond to the appearance of a comparatively-benign walrus?,” he wrote.

“Our approach to nature must change, coexistence isn’t just the right thing to do, our survival as a species depends on it.”

Norwegians are divided about the fate of the animal, reported the New York Times.

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