Sculpture of euthanised walrus Freya unveiled in Oslo

Sculpture of euthanised walrus Freya unveiled in Oslo

A bronze sculpture has been unveiled in Norway of the walrus nicknamed Freya, who gained global attention last summer after basking in the Oslo fjord until officials euthanised her.

The lifesize sculpture depicts Freya lying on her side on the rocky shore of Oslo’s Kongen marina, not far from where the real 600kg mammal last summer drew large crowds as she chased ducks and swans, and rested on boats that struggled to support her bulk.

Officials chose to put her down in August, citing signs she was experiencing stress and amid fears she posed a threat to members of the public who did not keep their distance as requested.

An online campaign raised more than $25,000 (£20,000) to build the sculpture commemorating Freya, campaign organiser Erik Holm said.

“I started this because I’m furious about the way the fisheries directorate and the state handled this situation,” Holm said at the unveiling.

“Beyond the issue of Freya, we need to ask ourselves how we treat animals and nature. We need to think about our relationship to wildlife.”

Freya, who was estimated to be about five years old, had been sighted in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden before spending part of the summer in Norway.

The walrus is a protected species that normally lives in the more northerly latitudes of the Arctic.

Despite repeated appeals to stay away, onlookers who sometimes had children in tow approached the mammal to take photographs.

Walruses do not normally behave aggressively towards humans, but they can feel threatened by intruders and attack.

Critics said the decision to put Freya down was rushed and did not take the animal’s wellbeing into account, while officials said sedating Freya and moving her to a less populated area would have been too complex an operation.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 29 April 2023. Lead Image: An online campaign raised more than $25,000 to build the bronze sculpture. Photograph: Annika Byrde/NTB/AFP/Getty Images.

What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.


Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

lm3 1812f 2

Discover hidden wildlife with our FREE newsletters

Select list(s):


Founder and Executive Editor

Share this post with your friends

Leave a Reply

Notify of