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Authorities Warn Freya the Walrus May Need to Be Put Down as Crowds Ignore Warnings to Stay Away

·2-min read
A young female walrus nicknamed Freya rests on a boat in Frognerkilen, Oslo Fjord, Norway
A young female walrus nicknamed Freya rests on a boat in Frognerkilen, Oslo Fjord, Norway

TOR ERIK SCHRDER/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

A 1,300-lb. walrus who often attracts crowds as she searches for a sunbathing spot in Oslo, Norway, is now at risk of being euthanized due to public safety concerns, according to authorities.

On Thursday, Norway's Directorate of Fisheries warned the walrus named Freya could be put down if onlookers do not heed warnings to stay away from the mammal and continue displaying "negligent behavior."

"The fact that the walrus has become an attraction escalates the need for further measures. Our biggest fear is that people could get hurt," said Nadia Jdaini, the directorate's senior communications advisor, in the statement.

A young female walrus nicknamed Freya rests on a boat in Frognerkilen, Oslo Fjord, Norway
A young female walrus nicknamed Freya rests on a boat in Frognerkilen, Oslo Fjord, Norway

TOR ERIK SCHRDER/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

RELATED: Freya the Walrus Is Sinking Boats and Winning Hearts in Search for Ideal Sunbathing Spot

She added, "We are talking about partly large crowds of all ages, where all people clearly deviate from the current recommendations to keep their distance."

"Animal welfare is clearly weakened," Jdaini continued. "The walrus does not get enough rest and the professionals we are in dialogue with consider her to be stressed."

A female walrus named Freya lies at the waterfront at Frognerstranda in Oslo
A female walrus named Freya lies at the waterfront at Frognerstranda in Oslo

TOR ERIK SCHRDER/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

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The directorate is using a patrol vessel to observe the situation but is also evaluating further options with police and a veterinarian.

"We are now probing further measures, where euthanasia can be a real alternative," Jdaini said.

In the meantime, the directorate is continuing to request that people stay away from the walrus.

RELATED: Walrus Sinks Russian Navy Boat in the Arctic Ocean After Attacking Vessel

"The distance recommendations and clarifications about not swimming with the walrus are repeated," Jdaini shared. "We would again — strongly — recommend that the public keep their distance where the walrus has been observed and not bathe with it."

She continued, "It is for one's own safety and with animal welfare in mind."

In July, Freya captivated onlookers while also creating chaos in northern Europe, overtaking and sometimes sinking vessels — all in search of a perfect sunbathing spot.

RELATED VIDEO: Freya the Walrus Is Sinking Boats-and Winning Hearts in Search-for Ideal Sunbathing Spot

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The walrus has been tracked along Norway's coast for months, where the animal has left a string of damaged boats in her wake, NBC News reported.

The massive mammal searches for empty boats "to sleep and digest her food because they remind her of Arctic ice floes," Kathrine Ryeng, a veterinary medicine scientist at Norway's Institute of Marine Research, told NBC News.

Freya's antics are drawing attention on social media, earning her fans and foes alike.