Norway pm defends killing of walrus

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Norway pm defends killing of walrus

Norway's prime minister says he supports the decision to kill a walrus that captivated crowds in Oslo and found fame online.

Jonas Gahr St re said it was the right decision to euthanase the 600- kilogram female, known as Freya.

Sunday's killing caused a lot of backlash online, with conservationists speaking out against the move.

However, Mr Gahr St told Norway's national broadcaster NRK he stood by the actions of local authorities.

Norway is a maritime nation and sometimes we have to make unpopular decisions, he said.

I have been involved in discussions about the minke whales and seals. Freya's presence in Oslo fjord brought out crowds of spectators eager to catch a glimpse of her swimming, basking in the sun and trying to climb aboard boats.

There were reports that people were getting too close to Freya, trying to swim with her and throwing items at her.

Norway's Directorate of Fisheries said Freya was put down based on an overall assessment of the continued threat to human safety and the public disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus, it was made clear by on-site observations the past week.

The possibility of potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not maintained, according to the directorate. Other options — including relocation — were explored but ultimately considered unviable, according to officials.

The authorities had previously expressed concerns about the welfare of the animal in the fjord.

Her health has declined. The walrus is not getting enough rest and the experts we have consulted now suspect that the animal is stressed, fisheries spokeswoman Nadia Jdaini said last week.

The decision to put down Freya was inevitable according to the British wildlife conservationist Chris Packham, who said that the savages have shamed all of Norway and we will never forget it.

He told Norway's VG newspaper that you can't expect 1.6 million people not to swim in Oslo fjord.

People were out swimming and suddenly there was a metre from them, he said.

It is unusual for them to travel into the North and Baltic Seas.

Espen Fjeld told VG that the killing of an individual animal would have no impact on the wider walrus population and they called for greater efforts to protect their natural habitats from oil and gas drilling.