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Bakke-Jensen said the directorate had “considered all possible solutions carefully” but “concluded that [they] could not ensure the animal’s welfare through any means available.”

“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,” he said. “We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence.”

But Rune Aae, a University of South-Eastern Norway biologist who operated a Google map tracking Freya sightings, called the euthanasia of the beloved walrus “too hasty a conclusion.” The map, as well as the government efforts to track Freya’s whereabouts, meant that “everyone would be able to know where Freya was and could act accordingly, i.e. not engage in water activities near her,” Aae said in a Facebook post. With summer coming to an end, the number of spectators would also soon be reduced, Aae added.

Aae also noted that Freya was likely to leave the Oslo Fjord on her own accord soon, “so killing her was, in [his] view, completely unnecessary,” adding that the decision to kill her was “a shame.”


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