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We Didn’t Deserve Freya the Walrus

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Just a few weeks ago, a 1,300-pound walrus named Freya was enjoying the sort of Hot Girl Summer the average pinniped could only dream of. She’d left her native Arctic waters and recently ended up off the coast of Oslo, Norway, where she delighted onlookers and the animal-loving internet by hauling herself onto small boats, eating scallops and mussels, and generally living a life of leisure and glamour.

Her appearance in the Oslo Fjord was extremely unusual, since walruses are wary of humans and tend to stay farther away off the Norwegian coast. The novelty of it all made her an instant sensation; even Judy Woodruff couldn’t contain her herself in this whimsical summertime ode to Freya on PBS NewsHour earlier this month:

But as Freya’s legend grew, more and more folks wanted to see her up close. As the New York Times points out, the Oslo Fjord is full of water-going recreationists in the summer, and people started swimming with Freya, taking her picture, and even throwing things at her—so much that she had begun chasing off paddle boarders and kayakers. The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries warned the public to stay away from Freya, for their safety and hers. Last week, officials said they were weighing several options, including relocating Freya, but warned she might have to be killed if people wouldn’t listen.

Alas, people didn’t listen. And so on Sunday, Norwegian officials euthanized Freya.

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