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Norway Authorities Kill Freya The Walrus

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The Oslofjord walrus known as “Freya” has been put down by authorities because of the ongoing risk to human and animal welfare.

Early on Sunday morning, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries carried out a controlled operation to euthanise the Oslofjord walrus that had unintentionally become a global celebrity.

Close-up of walrus

For several weeks, the walrus had spent time in the harbours of the Oslofjord, lounging around on boats.

In a press release, the authority stated the operation was performed due to the risk to human safety. In recent weeks, many people had gathered nearby to get a glimpse of the walrus, ignoring pleas from the authorities.

“The decision to euthanise the walrus was made based on an overall assessment of the continued threat to human safety,” said Director General of Fisheries, Mr. Frank Bakke-Jensen.

Read more: Prime Minister Defends Walrus Killing Amid Global Outrage

Locals ignored warnings to stay away

The risk of authorities having to kill the walrus was well known, having been picked up by global media over the past week.

he walrus "Freya" observed in front of a large crowd at Kadettangen. The image has been blackened out of consideration for the individuals in the image. Photo: © Directorate of Fisheries.
The walrus “Freya” observed in front of a large crowd at Kadettangen. The image has been blackened out of consideration for the individuals in the image. Photo: © Directorate of Fisheries.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, through on-site observations over the past week made it clear that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus.

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

Moving the animal “was not viable”

Several possible solutions to the issue had been discussed. “We have considered all possible solutions carefully. We concluded that we could not ensure the animal's welfare through any means available,” said Bakke-Jensen.

The possibility of moving the animal was discussed at length with the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. However, it was deemed too complex.

“The extensive complexity of such an operation made us conclude that this was not a viable option. There were several animal welfare concerns associated with a possible relocation,” said Bakke-Jensen.

A walrus in more typical habitat.
A walrus in more typical habitat.

Strong reaction expected

The Directorate admitted they expect a strong response from the public, but said the decision 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. We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence,” said Bakke-Jensen.

Veterinarian Siri Martinsen, leader of the animal welfare organisation Noah, was among the early voices to be critical of the decision. She says she was “shocked and very disappointed” to hear the news.

She told NRK that animal welfare cannot be used as a justification for killing the walrus and other measures should have been tried first.

“We believe that those who fail to keep their distance from the animal should be fined, and I think that could have led to people following the guidelines. That has not been attempted,” she said.

Polar bear killed on Svalbard

The news comes just days after a polar bear was killed on the Norway-administered Svalbard islands.

Two polar bears walking against an icy backdrop

A French tourist was hospitalised after being attacked by a polar bear at a remote camp last Monday. The Governor's office said defensive shots were fired and the polar bear was severely wounded.

The police officers arriving to the area later decided to kill the bear.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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58 thoughts on “Norway Authorities Kill Freya The Walrus”

  1. Poor Norway, nothing smarter than killing.. the most easy and most primitive ”solution”. And I thought Norway is a modern, advanced country.
    Shame on you.

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  2. God, there are so many zoos, why couldn’t she be moving to one of them? Is killing of the animal means taking care of its welfare? Something seems to be wrong in the minds of Norwegian authorities.

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    • Typical solution. Kill the animal hanging out doing absolutely nothing other then getting some sun and not attacking anyone. There were other solutions, it just seemed to be cheapest $$$ way

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  3. So the animal is punished because humans are precious but simply idiots? How is this animal welfare?? In which way did you apply “the great regard” you have for animal welfare? And wow, agile and ferocious Freya was running around chasing sunbathers and innocent passers by? Or – instead of at least trying to find a solution for her – it was the easiest/cruelest/laziest way out to use killing as the solution? I thought that animal welfare in Norwegian has the same meaning as in other languages. Seems not, and no, you didn’t euthanize her. You killed her, plain and simple, in any language. Very civilized and 11th century-like.

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  4. How barbaric is this. An absolute disgrace that this wondrous healthy walrus Freya has been slaughtered by narrow minded, irresponsible heartless people. There is no justification for this heinous act. Norway you must hold your head in eternal shame.
    RIP Beautiful Freya♥️

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    • I hope people stop visiting this primitive country called Norway. Maybe if they see their tourist income down they will take notice.

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  5. This is inhumane, disgusting, appalling. The walrus in the seas has as much, if not more, right to exist as the humans who came to see her: if you are unable to deter the people, then you have failed and they must ultimately be responsible for their own actions & safety. You DO NOT murder an innocent creature just beacuse people won’t listen to your warnings. What next? Kill cattle in fields because a person may be hurt by one? Kill dogs because one may bite someone? You are cruel, and evil. So many people in many countries have enjoyed seeing this animal but you decide to kill her? She was NOT your ‘Property’ to dispose of. NOT the ‘right call’ at all.

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  6. This Walrus has come into close contact with many people on her travels and not once has it become aggressive or caused major concern. Simple barriers could’ve been erected around the harbour to prevent people from getting too close. It would’ve eventually moved on. The decision to euthanase the animal was most definitely the wrong decision to make and I strongly believe it was made due to the pressure of local boat owners and fishermen…shame on you, you are a disgrace!!!

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  7. “Euthanise” what a lie. And the people are dump? EUTHANIZED mean killing from the compassion. Killing because someone is bothering you is only KILLING.
    Big disappointment in this country. Be SHAME Norway. People are the same everywhere. Egocentric…
    Always above, and more important then every other living thing.

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  8. This is disgusting. She has been to several countries including uk where she was well looked after. The person who decided this needs to be prosecuted and jailed.

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    • AGREED. She was young, vibrant, innocent, beloved by the world, treasured representative of an internationally “protected” species, and one human decides she is inconvenient and must die? She was a treasure who lifted humanity’s spirits in treacherous times and helped make life itself worth living.

      This is an deeply sickening, international disgrace which will be burned into people’s first thoughts of Norway, forever.

      There were many nonlethal solutions: surely this is an international crime.

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    • I agree with this. That person needs to be accountable for murdering the animal.
      The decision to killer her was atrocious.
      Put a guard in place to keep people away.
      I’m disgusted. I hope Norway is not backing the decision that man made to Murder Freya. They need to prosecute him.

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  9. It’s not possible to safely move this kind of animal, it just isn’t. You can’t just impromptu add animals to a zoo likw that. Marine mammals are particularly difficult to house in zoos/aquariums. It’s unfortunate that members of the public cannot accept that this was the best option.

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    • Your are 100% wrong! Yes she could have been moved to another location where there are other walruses. Or to a zoo. The crime here is they didn’t even TRY! The LAST option should have been euthanasia. Not the FIRST!

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    • So it is much better to just kill it. Jeez – poor country with no maritime experience whatsoever, with no boats, right? – And yes, there are aquariums where seals and walruses live, sheltered from such trigger happy animal “lovers” – or simply clear and far away seas – they didn’t even try. They talked, conferred, read pompous statements about how they care for animal welfare – and killed her. Why on earth can’t we see that as the best option?! And please do tell – since you seem to know – how it is not possible to safely move such an animal. And how seals and walruses do live in safer enclosures? Don’t be shy, enlighten the members of the public. “Particularly difficult” means still possible – as long as you give a sh* and try, at least. So no, death is no option and is not merciful, this time. To be honest, I think it was a matter of “oh we could be sued for some boat damage or something” so yes, killing her was cheaper than anything else. And if the members of the public protest – let them protest, who cares? It’s not like authorities rely on donations or elections, right?

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  10. The blood of this beautiful animal is all over your hands. It is outrageous that you couldn’t come up with a solution better than this.
    It is not Just our world It is the animals world too.

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  11. This is disgusting behaviour from the Norwegian authorities. They should be ashamed of themselves. I can’t even….. I’m so angry I’m going to swear so I’ll leave with this: DO. NOT. DO. IT AGAIN. stupidly beyond belief.

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  12. Abhorrent on every level! Clearly stated that local people had disregarded advice to give Freya space. These people were the risk. Not Freya.
    I fully understand that when such a rare visitor shows up, people are curious, but for goodness sake what has happened to respect for a protected specials. Nothing about this decision was based on welfare for the animal. The authorities should hang their heads in shame!!

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  13. I am so outraged at this news. Are you serious?!?! People can’t stay away from her and SHE gets killed?!?! There are less than 1/4 of a million walruses in the wild (and how many BILLIONS of people?!) and they KILLED a walrus? I am NOT suggesting we kill people but killing the walrus was the BEST solution? Everything else was too INCONVENIENT?!?! Wow, I am sooooo shocked, I imagine that Norway would have a more sophisticated solution. So, really in 2022, in a relatively wealthy country your best solution was kill the walrus? Just out of curiosity, as it didn’t seem to mention it anywhere, how many people did Freya killed? (Cricket, cricket… yeah, that’s what I thought).

    Also, quite interesting that in the picture of Freya with the crowd, all of the humans’ “image[s] [have] been blackened out of consideration for the individuals.” ALL for the consideration of the HUMAN individuals, forget all other living things. No wonder our planet is the way it is.

    Speaking of our planet, I am sure that our human interaction with our planet is probably the reason Freya couldn’t find her way home with the rest of her kind.

    So, in conclusion: OUR fault, OUR fault, OUR fault but F it, let’s just kill her because it’s the easiest solution. SMH Norway. Shame on you.

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  14. How about warning people and if someone is so stupid to not listen and they get killed, so be it. What happened to personal responsibility. The walrus wasn’t being aggressive. Pathetic.

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  15. Shame on you, Norway! Due to human ignorance and stupidity, you decide to kill an innocent animal that you could have helped. But obviously you couldn’t be bothered to try to save Freya. Too much trouble. Too little disregard for the protection and welfare of wildlife, which is nothing new where Norway is concerned. Absolutely disgusting and unnecessary. Humans really do suck. No wonder our planet is so messed up and damaged!

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  16. This is sickening and heartbreaking, why on earth didn’t they place an official or police officer near Freya to.protect her from the self indulgent, self obsessed crowd. Why should she pay the ultimate sacrifice? But then again Norway thinks nothing of killing our beautiful.marine creatures, it was a cop.out. SHAME ON YOU ALL INVOLVED!

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  17. A couple of days ago a large number of French scientists and professionals did all they can for days, spending a vast amount of money, to save a stranded whale in the River Seine. They failed, but they tried. For far less cost and manpower, that wonderful and famous creature could have been tranquilised and moved if it was proving ‘a risk’.
    Just goes to prove there are brainless idiots in power in Norway, as well as here in the UK.

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  18. This is a total and utter despicable “solution” to the problem of ignorant humans not being intelligent or mature enough to follow rules.
    People had been warned, so “putting human safety” before the needs of the animal is a completely lame excuse worthy of a tin pot state in the third world, not of a civilised country. If Freya had hurt someone it would have been entirely the fault of the stupid idiots gawping at her. Why should she have to pay the price for their despicable behaviour?
    It just goes to show that Norway, despite its veneer of decency and forward thinking is nothing more than a country of medieval attitudes, where animals are purely for human entertainment and as soon as they become inconvenient they are disposed of.
    Freya, godess of love and beauty; there is nothing lovely or beautiful about this. This is an ugly stain on Norway and the stupid, repulsive people and their hideous children who together with the shameful Norwegian authorities are responsible for the murder of a beautiful and iconic animal.
    Karma is a wonderful thing: I hope it is swift to visit Norway.

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  19. This was a horrible and lazy solution!!!!!😡😡😡😡. Surely smart people could have come up with something better!!😪😪

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  20. Its becoming very easy to justify these killings with public safety. O wonder if this teory spreads to criminal, sex offenders, etc ..

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  21. Disgusted by this. Humans endangering animals is how this appears. A polar bear and a walrus killed within a short space of time because humans can’t leave them alone. Sickening

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  22. Norwegian officials would never dream of executing a rapist, pedophile, or serial killer, but really enjoy killing innocent animals. What a barbaric society.

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  23. I am completely disgusted with the Norwegian authorities who murdered Freya. I find it absurd to claim it was not feasible to move the animal. They took the most cruel, heartless and cowardly way to remedy the situation. Norway just shot and killed a polar bear as well. Norway continued to whale long after the developed world realized how useless and cruel whaling was. Yet another example of Norway’s failing as a society. I wish I could boycott their goods and services but I am at a loss as to what they even do over there other than murder mammals.

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  24. Read between the lines: this is a political move influenced by the damage $$$ she was causing to boats and creating problems $$$ for summer businesses. But your government is trying to blame it on the people instead of taking responsibility for what they did (blame shifting) A recommendation is not a decisive order or a rule to follow. And in the United States, the land of gun and violence, we would have relocated her!! We don’t murder animals like that and publicize it as an act of euthanasia. Norge has taken a dark turn! You should find out who is behind this cruelty and vote for someone else next time.

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  25. Where do we start? Humans weren’t in danger. I know because I have surfed with them. They are inquisitive and will check you out. And unless they have a calf, that would be the only reason they might attack/ protect the calf. She had no calf. Typical, easy way out . To those authorities that came up with this disgraceful betrayal of a harmless animal. Karma is coming for you.

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  26. Shameful and disgusting behavior that shows a total lack of respect for an innocent and healthy animal’s life. I used to have a good opinion of Norway but not anymore.

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  27. Couldn’t the police have kept people away from her? There’s private security guards for everthing else here, could they not have employed 2 or 3 people to keep her safe before she moved on?

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  28. Not a good enough solution. Shame on you Norway. You did not try to relocate her. Very very sad and disgusting news. Friendly Freya made international news and social media buzz. Her killing will be equally international news and all over social media! Good move Norway. Not smart.

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  29. Disgusting! I hope there is a public condemnation and that the officials
    who made this foolish decision are held accountable. Shame on them

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  30. Norway, the same modern country that locked up a woman for three years because she thinks Transgender surgery is wrong.
    The place is run by totalitarian scum.

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  31. INCOMPETENT, INCOMPETENT, INCOMPETENT,
    Is the only way to describe
    Mr Frank Bakke -Jenson, (DG of Fisheries) and his administration in the handling of Freya.
    It was unnecessary, unjustifiable and shameful to have her KILLED.

    Freya had visited the NE of England, Scotland and Holland without any problems. People respected the fact she was a wild animal on the move and gave her the space and time she needed. I agree with the general sentiment that Norwegians have no regard for animal welfare and took the easy way out in dealing with Freya.

    And a message to all of those morons who ignored warnings to stay away from Freya, remember this; “everytime you look back at your photos and videos of Freya, you’ll be reminded of the part you played in giving the authorities the lame excuse to have her destroyed”! She was an amazing, unusual and wandering animal on a journey to who knows where and deserved your respect!

    While some countries move forwards on animal welfare standards sadly Norway goes backwards. Don’t support it don’t visit it , and under no circumstances dare to lounge around, uninvited on their expensive water craft or You’ll be next by order of Mr FB-J!

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  32. The news about Freya sickened me. If this is man’s only answer to any wild animal that may become a potential threat – than we will have to kill them all. It’s disgusting how human’s think every other creature on this planet is disposable and not worthy of life unless we (humans) deem it so. Shame!

    Reply

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