Freya, a young wild female walrus, had been killed by the Norwegian authorities for daring to peacefully bask around the waters of Oslo, a fjord which used to be the home of many native marine mammals — now occupied by invasive humans. She had been spotted first in the waters of the Norwegian capital on 17th July 2022, and people kept coming closer to her not leaving her alone.  

Officials said they killed the walrus because repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from her and leave her in peace had failed. Frank Bakke-Jensen, the head of Norway’s fisheries directorate, said in a statement, “The decision to euthanise was taken on the basis of a global evaluation of the persistent threat to human security.” None of the people who approach the resting walrus to disturb her and take videos has been arrested, despite the authorities seeming to be blaming them for her death. Verdens Gang, a Norwegian tabloid, set up a 24-hour live camera to intrude on Freya’s privacy, and now she had to pay with her own life. Freya had already been sighted in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, but there are no reports of anyone trying to kill her in these countries. 

Freya could have been moved with the help of experts at the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, but according to the Washington Post the authorities concluded that the complexity of the operation meant that “this was not a viable option.” It seems the authorities were seeking an easy option as Freya’s life was not worth the effort. Walruses are a protected species, but in Oslo, it seems that such protection is only on paper, at least in the case of Freya.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.