Freya the walrus seen in Seahouses put down by Norwegian authorities over 'threat to human safety'

Freya the walrus resting on the rocks at Seahouses, in Northumberland, in November last year. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Freya the walrus which spent time on the North East coast of England has been put down by Norwegian authorities over its "threat to human safety".

People travelled from around the region to see the Arctic walrus after it was spotted on the rocks at Seahouses, in Northumberland, in November last year.

The animal made its way back across the North Sea and most recently attracted attention from the public in Norway's Oslofjord.

However, it was announced the walrus had been euthanised by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries on Sunday (14 August) following an assessment of its "continued threat to human safety".

Members of the public had apparently ignored official advice to stay away from Freya the walrus, according to Norwegian authorities. Credit: Fiskeridirektoratet

Frank Bakke-Jensen, director general of fisheries, said: "We have sympathies for the fact that the decision can cause reactions with the public, but I am firm that this was the right call.

"We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence."

According to the authority, the 600kg walrus had made a name for herself in recent weeks.

People were urged to keep their distance in a number of Facebook posts throughout July which warned of her potential for danger.

In one post, Freya was even spotted resting on a boat.

But the public appeared to ignore the advice and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said the risk to public was too high.

"Through on-site observations the past week it was made clear that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus," a statement read.

"Therefore, the directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained."

Mr Bakke-Jenson said the directorate had "considered all possible solutions carefully" but could not "ensure the animal's welfare through any means available".

Director General of Fisheries, Frank Bakke-Jensen, said the decision to euthanise Freya the walrus was the "right call". Credit: Vegard Oen Hatten / Fiskeridirektoratet

One of the options was moving it but the "complexity" of doing so was deemed unviable.

"There were several animal welfare concerns associated with a possible relocation," he added.

The authority said the operation was "conducted in a humane fashion" and the carcass had been handed over for further examinations.

Police and the Norwegian Food Authority [animal welfare authority] were also made aware ahead of Freya being put down.

  • Ross Hutchinson reports on the walrus making waves in Northumberland in November 2021

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