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Freya the Walrus Euthanized by Norway Officials Over Public Safety Fears

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

Norwegian authorities euthanized Freya the walrus after they determined the 1300-lb. animal stood as a risk to humans.

On Monday, Norway's Directorate of Fisheries announced that it had killed the walrus, which has been an active presence in the Oslo fjord on Norway's southeast coast in recent weeks. Officials made the decision to put the animal down early Sunday after observing the animal's interactions with the public and deciding "that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus."

"According to veterinarian experts the walrus seemed stressed by the massive attention and the welfare of the animal was compromised," the Directorate of Fisheries wrote in a statement. "Therefore, the Directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained."

"The decision to euthanize the walrus was made based on an overall assessment of the continued threat to human safety," Frank Bakke-Jensen, Norway's Director General of Fisheries, said in a statement.

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

Personnel with the Directorate of Fisheries put down the walrus following "current routines and regulations for euthanasia for marine mammals," according to the statement, and informed police and the country's animal welfare authorities what they were doing prior to putting Freya down.

"We have considered all possible solutions carefully. We concluded that we could not ensure the animals welfare through any means available," Bakke-Jensen said in the release.

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

On Sunday, the Directorate of Fisheries said in a statement that it had "deliberated thoroughly with the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research" about potentially moving Freya to no avail.

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

"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 added. "We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence."

Freya the walrus in Frognerkilen bay, Norway, 20 July 2022
Freya the walrus in Frognerkilen bay, Norway, 20 July 2022

TROND REIDAR TEIGEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

On Thursday, the Directorate of Fisheries warned that Freya could be put down if onlookers did not heed warnings to stay away from the mammal and continue displaying "negligent behavior." The Directorate said in a release then that animal welfare professionals had already determined that the animal had grown stressed due to its interactions with humans.

"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 Thursday's release.

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."

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

Freya had made headlines for months as the walrus traveled across Norway and Northern Europe, leaving a string of damaged boats in her wake, NBC News reported in July.

The lone animal was also sighted off the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, according to USA Today, with Norway growing into the most recent — and ultimately final — stop on her summer tour before the Directorate of Fisheries stepped in.

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Freya was first spotted around northern parts of the country in 2019, the BBC reported in July, citing the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Directorate of Fisheries started asking people to keep their distance from Freya by July 23, though at the time, said it did not plan to euthanize the creature at all.