Freya the walrus killed, social media erupts
Norway’s decision to kill the young female walrus named Freya on Sunday, August 14, 2022 has caused a backlash on social media that’s extended into today. Prior to the killing, Freya’s summer of lounging in a Norwegian fjord had warmed hearts and spawned media reports around the world, including one at this website. Freya was a young female walrus, of a species normally found in the Arctic. And there was something about Freya’s “hot-girl summer” that apparently delighted many people. But Norway’s fisheries directorate “euthanized” (some social media reports are now saying “shot”) the 1,300-pound walrus early on Sunday morning. The directorate said the decision came after the public ignored repeated warnings to keep their distance from Freya.
Frank Bakke-Jensen, a Norwegian politician for the Conservative Party, is currently the head of Norway’s fisheries directorate. He also served as Norway’s minister of defense from 2017 to 2021. He said in a statement on Sunday:
I am firm that this was the right call. We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence.
Many are now questioning why crowds couldn’t have been better controlled, or Freya moved.
Last half-hour’s tweets about Freya
The tweets below are from the last half hour on Twitter, as of this writing.
#Norway how could you be able to this barbaric nonsense? Shame on you… poor innocent animal… one would think that you have no money!!! All these oil and gas dollars.. couldn’t you spare s fee thousand to keep Freya alive! Disgusting!
— Emre (@Kei33220227) August 15, 2022
A Walrus that’s entertained crowds in the Shetlands and Northumberland has been shot in Norway because it might harm someone, don’t they understand stay a safe distance.
Freya isn’t the problem, Norwegian authorities never heard of control the public.
— Silvio Tattiscone ??????????? (@SilvioTattiscon) August 15, 2022
the fact they euthanised freya the walrus because humans were getting to close to her literally sums up the human race. people would throw things at her but she was the “danger to public”. euthanasia wasn’t the answer for this, they should have relocated her. #FreyaTheWalrus
— Caitlain Hargraves (@caitlainzoology) August 15, 2022
Freya the walrus has been killed by Norwegian authorities, we invade their territory, raise water temperatures melting sea ice causing walruses to rest more often on land driving them farther from their traditional fishing habitats. Cost of relocation was high so she was killed. pic.twitter.com/29QGb4G0I8
— Freddy C. ?? ???????????? (@FreddySky) August 15, 2022
this made me BIG mad. Freya didn’t deserve that, screw rich peoples boats. they can pay to fix them, you can’t replace life. https://t.co/dB3PWydAHK
— Heather (@hellyea_heather) August 15, 2022
Norway threatened people it would kill Freya. As a way of punishing the people apparently. Norway delivered on that threat by killing the healthy walrus. “Killing” not “euthanizing” since it was not to put Freya out of misery or end her suffering. Healthy & dead. True colors.
— Crenshaw (@RCCrenshaw1) August 15, 2022
They should have put up a sign (as a warning) for people – Danger Very Big Walrus – If you get too near you will be crushed. Freya had as much (if not more) right to be on that beach! They murdered a beautiful animal to keep idiot people safe (from themselves) https://t.co/vielF9yefA
— David George King. Enough is enough Campaign (@Davidgeorgeking) August 15, 2022
— Julia Reinl (@JuliaReinl) August 15, 2022
The murder of Freya is barbaric. A beautiful animal who was doing no harm & would have moved on eventually. Shame on officials for killing her & the selfish idiots who continued to ignore the warnings. Animals are not a attraction for your entertainment.#FreyaTheWalrus pic.twitter.com/KhfNOGVbbw
— Aislinglouaaa (@Aislinglouyt) August 14, 2022
Freya’s hot-girl summer
Freya was named named for the Norse goddess of love and beauty. Walruses like her normally live in the Arctic, in ice-covered waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Alaska. They typically rest on sea ice when not feeding. But this young female had been sighted further south on the globe, in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. Finally, she chose Norway as her summer home. She was first sighted around July 17, climbing onto boats in Kragero, a small coastal town in southern Norway. Then – her big mistake – she moved to a fjord in Oslo, Norway’s capital.
Freya weighed in at about 1,300 pounds (600 kg). Sometimes, when she climbed onto boats, the boats sank. She also chased a duck and killed a swan, prompting Rolf Harald Jensen, a fisheries official in Norway, to comment during a TV interview in July:
It’s a pity about the material damage. But that’s the way it is when you have wild animals.
Norway’s decision made people mad
Authorities claimed Freya was becoming increasingly distressed by the many humans around her. Still, her killing came as a surprise – a shock, even – to her fans around the globe.
Norway’s fisheries directorate said on August 14 it had “thoroughly considered” the decision. It said Freya’s behavior was becoming more erratic, and that the potential for human harm was increasing.
But many people are now denouncing Norway’s decision to kill Freya. Some are pointing out that the idea that “human life must take precedence” is perhaps worthy of deep thought. Others are calling Norway’s decision “a national shame.” And many have asked why authorities couldn’t move the walrus to a safer area.
Frank Bakke-Jensen said experts at the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research were included in the decision-making process. He said moving Freya “was not a viable option” and that that there were “several animal welfare concerns associated with a possible relocation.”
He did not provide detail about those concerns, however.
Bottom line: Freya, a young female walrus, had been lounging in the sun in an Oslo, Norway fjord for some weeks. But, on Sunday, August 14, 2022, Norway’s fisheries directorate killed her. An outcry erupted on social media on Sunday that has extended into today.