The 600-kilogram Freya is life-size, lying on its side.
The curtain was lifted on Saturday at the façade of “Marina Kongen” in Oslo on a bronze sculpture of the female walrus “Freya”, which gained international fame last summer when people flocked to see it in the Oslo Straits, before the Norwegian authorities resorted to euthanizing her life.
The 600-kilogram Freya is life-sized, lying on its side. It was erected on a site not far from where this female walrus attracted crowds who came to watch her hunt ducks and swans.
And the authorities decided to resort to euthanasia for this animal last August, justifying its decision with indications that Freya was tense and therefore posed a threat to the safety of the spectators who did not heed the warnings to stay at a distance from her.
People’s relationship with wildlife
The decision sparked outrage, and a fundraising campaign was organized on the Internet, which managed to raise more than $ 25,000 to prepare a sculpture representing “Freya”, as explained by the owner of the initiative, Eric Holm.
“I took this initiative because I felt angry at the way the Fisheries Directorate and the state dealt with this situation,” he told AFP before unveiling the statue, which was carried out by Astri Tonoyan.
He added, “The issue goes beyond Freya’s case, as it relates to reconsidering the way we deal with animals, nature, and people’s relationship with wildlife.”
Freya, who was estimated to be five years old, was spotted in the waters of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden before reaching off Norway.
The walrus is a protected species, and feeds mainly on invertebrates such as molluscs, prawns, crabs and small fish. Walruses usually live below northern latitudes in the Arctic.
Despite the instructions issued by the authorities, the curious kept swimming near Freya’s whereabouts, or sometimes accompanied by children, to photograph her.
The walrus does not usually pose a danger to humans as long as they are at a great distance from it, but if they disturb it and it cannot enjoy sufficient rest, it may feel the danger and resort to attacking them.
A number of experts and activists at the time considered that the decision to end Freya’s life was hasty, and saw that “imposing fines” on violating bystanders was one of the possible options.
Norwegian officials said moving Freya to a less populated area “was not a viable option” because the process was so complex.