Norway mulls euthanizing walrus that won hearts in Oslo fjord
Despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from the walrus, a young female weighing 600 kilos that has been nicknamed Freya, the mammal continues to attract big crowds, the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement.
Its text was accompanied by a photograph of a group of onlookers crowding near the animal.
“The public’s reckless behavior and failure to follow authorities’ recommendations could put lives in danger,” a spokeswoman for the fisheries agency, Nadia Jdaini, said.
“We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative,” she added.
Freya, whose name is a reference to the Norse goddess of beauty and love, has made headlines since July 17 when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital.
Walruses normally lives in the even more northerly latitudes of the Arctic.
Between long naps, a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day, Freya has been filmed chasing a duck, attacking a swan and, more often than not, dozing on boats struggling to support her bulk.
Despite the recommendations, some curious onlookers have continued to approach her, sometimes with children in tow, to take photographs.
“Her health has clearly declined. The walrus is not getting enough rest and the experts we have consulted now suspect that the animal is stressed,” Jdaini said.
A protected species, walruses normally eat mollusks, small fish, shrimps and crabs.
While they don’t normally attack people, they can if they feel threatened, according to authorities.