Already seen in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, Freya chose to spend part of the summer in Norway, where she first gained notoriety by hoisting herself onto pleasure boats in Kragerø, an idyllic southern coastal village, before going to do the same in the waters of the capital since July 17.
The presence of the mammal normally living in the even more northern latitudes of the Arctic has aroused the curiosity of the local population and made the headlines of the press. In this country in love with “slow TV”, the newspaper Verdens Gang even decided for a moment to broadcast its every move live on its website.
Between two big naps – a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day – Freya has been filmed hunting a duck, tackling a swan or, more often than not, dozing on boats swaying beneath her. weight.
“Material damage is a shame, but that’s how it is when you have wild animals in the wild,” explained an official from the Directorate of Fisheries, Rolf Harald Jensen, to the TV2 channel.
After considering moving Freya for a time, or even euthanizing her if she were to pose a danger to the population, the Norwegian authorities decided to let nature take its course. “She is well, eating, resting and appears to be in good shape,” the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement on Monday.
Freya, whose name refers to a goddess associated with love and beauty in Norse mythology, is however not unanimous.
“Cut down Freya”, launched a biologist, Per Espen Fjeld, in a column published by public radio and television NRK on Monday. “Freya cost more (to the Norwegian society, editor’s note) than most of the other animals that we slaughter because they do damage, but Freya has made a name for herself”, he noted, lamenting ” a pure Bambi effect”.
The authorities, for their part, hammer the need to keep one’s distance and strongly advise against going swimming or kayaking near Freya, “who is not necessarily as indolent and clumsy as one might think when she is resting” . “A walrus does not normally represent a danger to human beings, as long as we stay at a safe distance. But if it is disturbed by humans and cannot get enough rest, it may feel threatened and attack,” they said.
A protected species, the walrus feeds mainly on invertebrates such as molluscs, shrimps, crabs and small fish. Its average weight in adulthood is around a ton for a male and 700 kilos for a female.