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Norwegian authorities have threatened to put down a popular walrus amid fears it is putting itself and the public in danger, they said Thursday.

The walrus, nicknamed Freya, has won the public's hearts basking in the sun of the Oslo fjord, climbing into boats and getting up-close with tourists.

But despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from Freya - a young female weighing 1,300 pounds - the mammal continues to attract big crowds, the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement.

 Its text was accompanied by a photograph of a group of onlookers crowding near the animal.

Norwegian authorities have threatened to put down Freya, a popular walrus, amid fears it is putting itself and the public in danger, they said Thursday

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'The public's reckless behaviour and failure to follow authorities' recommendations could put lives in danger', a spokeswoman for the agency, Nadia Jdaini, said, noting that several potentially dangerous incidents have been witnesses in the last week.

These included people swimming with the walrus, approaching her with their children, taking photographs close to the mammal and throwing things at her.

'In the meantime, the distance recommendations and clarifications about not swimming with the walrus are repeated: we would again - strongly - recommend that the public keep their distance where the walrus has been observed and not bathe with it. It is for one's own safety and with animal welfare in mind,' Jdaini said.

Police have been passed on information about the incidents.

Pictured: A young female walrus nicknamed Freya rests on a boat in Frognerkilen, Oslo Fjord, Norway, on July 19, 2022. The walrus, nicknamed Freya, has won the public's hearts basking in the sun of the Oslo fjord, climbing into boats and getting up-close with tourists

But despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from Freya - a young female weighing 1,300 pounds - the mammal continues to attract big crowds, the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement

Norway's Fisheries agency is closely following Freya in a patrol boat. The agency said Freya's welfare had clearly deteriorated.

'The fact that the walrus has become an attraction escalates the need for further measures. Our biggest fear is that people could get hurt... We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative', she added. 

Freya, whose name is a reference to the Norse goddess of beauty and love, has made headlines since July 17 when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital.

Walruses normally lives in the even more northerly latitudes of the Arctic.

Freya, whose name is a reference to the Norse goddess of beauty and love, has made headlines since July 17 when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital

Between long naps - a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day - Freya has been filmed chasing a duck, attacking a swan and, more often than not, dozing on boats struggling to support her bulk.

Despite the recommendations, some curious onlookers have continued to approach her, sometimes with children in tow, to take photographs.

'Her health has clearly declined. The walrus is not getting enough rest and the experts we have consulted now suspect that the animal is stressed,' Jdaini said.

A protected species, walruses normally eat molluscs, small fish, shrimps and crabs.

While they don't normally attack people, they can if they feel threatened, according to authorities.

News Source: dailymail.co.uk

Tags: afp topics index won the public’s the public’s hearts a young female the walrus

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