Norway has warned that it could must kill a walrus named Freya out of concern that the 1,300-pound animal might hurt the delighted onlookers who’ve been unable to steer clear of her throughout her summer time go to to the nation’s coast.
People have been swimming near Freya, throwing objects at her and posing for photographs, generally with their youngsters, Vegard Oen Hatten, a spokesman for the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, advised The New York Times on Friday. The company has warned folks to steer clear of the walrus, however if that doesn’t work, “there is a possibility to greenlight a controlled operation to put the animal down,” Mr. Hatten stated.
There are different doable options, together with shifting Freya from the space, he added, whereas noting that killing Freya could be a “last resort.” No last determination has been made.
“She’s not aggressive,” stated Rune Aae, who teaches biology at the University of South-Eastern Norway and commonly updates a Google map of Freya sightings. “But if she wants to play with you, you will lose, no matter what happens.”
For Freya, there appears to be no pressing purpose to go away. She has loads of meals in the type of scallops and mussels, and she or he’s too younger, at 5 years previous, to offer delivery to a calf, Mr. Aae stated. Female walruses typically give delivery at round 9 or 10, and the animals can stay to be about 40.
“She’s having a splendid time on her holiday down here,” Mr. Aae stated.
Walruses are social animals and barely enterprise someplace alone, which can be why Freya appears to love being round folks.
“She’s not afraid of us,” Mr. Aae stated. “Maybe she thinks we’re her flock.”
Freya has been noticed off the coasts of Britain and varied European international locations, together with the Netherlands and Denmark, for not less than two years.
“This is a unique situation,” Mr. Hatten, the spokesman, stated. “It’s the first time an animal has stayed out of their natural habitat for so long.”
Experts assume that Freya is on her method again north, the place she belongs. But discovering her method could show troublesome, as a result of Oslo Fjord, the place she was most just lately noticed, is a useless finish on the method north. To get house, she first has to return south, all the way down to Denmark to cross over to Britain, earlier than going again north.
“She has to turn around, and so far, she hasn’t done so,” Mr. Aae stated. “She doesn’t have a map, she doesn’t know it’s a dead end.”
It’s not fully uncommon for a walrus to point out up in northern Europe, and related incidents have occurred earlier than. Most years, not less than one walrus could be noticed in European waters, stated Dan Jarvis, the director of welfare and conservation at British Divers Marine Life Rescue.
Last 12 months, one other walrus, Wally, confirmed up off the coast of southwest England for about six weeks and climbed up on boats in a busy space of the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago of greater than 150 islands. Local officers supplied him with a floating dock to lie on, as a result of he destroyed the boats together with his roughly 1,760-pound weight. There, too, folks obtained too shut and took footage with him, inflicting doubtlessly harmful conditions and resulting in requires his removing.
“He was coming to the busiest possible place,” Mr. Jarvis stated.
There are roughly 225,000 walruses in the wild, in keeping with the World Wide Fund for Nature. They stay in ice-covered waters in Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Alaska. In their typical habitat, walruses haul themselves onto sheets of ice. In the case of Freya, she’s hauling herself onto piers and boats. Walruses are affected by local weather change in the type of melting ice sheets, which is inflicting them to lose a few of that habitat.
If that retains taking place, Mr. Jarvis stated, “they’re going to have to search further to find somewhere suitable.”