Freya: Sculpture of euthanized walrus unveiled in Norway

World Sunday 30/April/2023 11:10 AM
By: DW
Freya: Sculpture of euthanized walrus unveiled in Norway

Oslo: A sculpture was unveiled on Saturday in Norway of Freya, the walrus whose euthanization last year provoked public outrage.

The life-size sculpture depicts Freya lying on the rocky shore of Oslo's Kongen Marina.

The 600-kilogram (1,320-pound) marine mammal enthralled the public for months in 2022, chasing ducks and swans and sunbathing on boats struggling to support her bulk.

Norway's Directorate of Fisheries chose to put her down in August, citing signs she was experiencing stress and amid fears she posed a threat to the public who did not keep their distance as requested.

Animal lovers raise thousands for Freya artwork

Many denounced the decision to euthanize Freya, calling it a national shame and the outrage even spread beyond Norway's borders

An online fundraising campaign for a bronze statue of her had raised about 270,000 Norwegian kroner (around €22,800; $25,000) in a matter of days.

Erik Holm, the fundraiser's organizer, said he did it because he was "furious about the way the Fisheries Directorate and the state handled this situation."

"Beyond the issue of Freya, we need to ask ourselves how we treat animals and nature. We need to think about our relationship with wildlife," he said.

Why was Freya euthanised?
Freya — whose name refers to the Norse goddess of beauty and love — was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital in mid-July 2022.

Her exploits, which included chasing a duck and attacking a swan, intrigued locals and made headlines in the press.

Before settling in the Oslo Fjord, Freya was spotted in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands — where she relaxed on a Dutch naval submarine — and Denmark.

Despite repeated appeals from the authorities, interested onlookers continued to approach her, sometimes with children and sometimes in the water.

Authorities had considered relocating the walrus but ultimately decided the operation was too risky and euthanised Freya.