freya the walrus
But we're going to say it louder for the people in the back—this behavior is one of the leading causes of these animals later being killed.
Harambe, a popular gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo, hit national headlines after he was killed over a mistake made by a human parent. The parent's three-year-old child fell into the enclosure and Harambe's engagement with the child was deemed dangerous.
The gorilla was shot and killed by a keeper as a result. The incident was captured on video by multiple zoo guests who watched the entire thing.
Harambe is just one of the more popular, well-known examples. He is far from being the only example.
Just this past weekend, a local celebrity in the Oslo Fjord in Norway was euthanized, again, not because of anything she did, but because humans would not listen to the rules.
A 1,320-pound female walrus—lovingly named Freya by the public—frequented the Fjord, specifically the small boats that were docked there. She would climb into these boats to sun bathe.
Though she did cause some damage to boats by climbing in and out of them, Freya otherwise did not cause trouble in the community.
Locals and passers-by, unfortunately, did not maintain their distance from Freya and began to move closer to her when she was sunning in boats or on rocks, so they could take selfies with her. There were also some reports of people trying to feed her and people swimming in the water near her.
Because people would not keep a safe distance from her, Freya was euthanized for public safety.
Norway's Directorate of Fisheries, Frank Bakke-Jensen, released the following statement:
"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."
"Therefore, the Directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high, and animal welfare was not being maintained."
"[Freya has been euthanized] based on an overall assessment of the continued threat to human safety."
Bakke-Jensen also insisted this was the best possible decision the Fisheries team could make.
They had also considered moving Freya to a new location but determined the act was not "viable." Upon learning of her fate, the internet loudly protested the unnecessary death of a much-loved sea mammal.
Twitter especially was furious at the news and vocal against Bakke-Jensen's decision.
\u201cThey killed Freya the Walrus because 'people were getting to close to it' - literally just sums up the disgrace and audacity of humanity\u201d— Joel Evans (@Joel Evans) 1660479059
\u201cFreya the walrus was a climate refugee. She came to human society in search of a place to rest because we destroyed her sea ice home. Then we killed her because she damaged a couple boats.\u201d— spencer \ud83e\udd88 (@spencer \ud83e\udd88) 1660497710
\u201cIn memory of #Freya - the wandering Walrus that graced us here Shetland last winter.\n\nMURDERED today by the Directorate of Fisheries in #Norway because she was perceived as a "continued threat to human safety". \n\nAbhorrent and unforgivable on every level.\u201d— Hugh Harrop Wildlife (@Hugh Harrop Wildlife) 1660479408
\u201cBy any measure, killing Freya was absolutely the wrong decision by Norway. https://t.co/ZDsOEs1yi2\u201d— Blue Planet Society (@Blue Planet Society) 1660493380
\u201cThe murder of Freya is barbaric. A beautiful animal who was doing no harm & would have moved on eventually. Shame on officials for killing her & the selfish idiots who continued to ignore the warnings. Animals are not a attraction for your entertainment.\n\n#FreyaTheWalrus\u201d— Aislinglouaaa (@Aislinglouaaa) 1660500038
\u201cYeah, so they euthanaised Freya, the walrus that had been doing the rounds of the North and Baltic Sea.\n\nApparently as people kept trying to get too close to take photos, so here's yet another PSA that getting close to wild animals costs them their lives.\nhttps://t.co/Hbqpu4MgXD\u201d— Josh Luke Davis \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@Josh Luke Davis \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1660478571
\u201c#FreyaTheWalrus \n\nNow they've killed Freya, the gentle walrus who meant no harm to anyone.\n\nIt's indefensible. Wild animals increasingly have no safe place in this world.\n\nEvery single person who ignored the warnings should be deeply ashamed. She had her whole life to live.\u201d— Tom (@Tom) 1660480007
\u201cAbsolutely horrendous that Freya has been killed by the Norwegians. Nature has so little value. I have no words...\nPhoto of her when we were lucky enough to have her in Northumberland. #FreyaTheWalrus\u201d— Dr Jacqui Mair (@Dr Jacqui Mair) 1660480861
\u201c#Nature #FreyaTheWalrus #Walrus\n\nSo Norway threatens to kill Freya the walrus because people can't stop taking selfies, throwing things at her & swimming near her with their kids.\n\nA perfect example of everything that's wrong with humanity.\u201d— Tom (@Tom) 1660375510
\u201cWTF Norway. You did not have to kill her. Sure.Freya liked to nap on peoples boats. Sure.She was a little stinky. That doesn't mean you have to kill her. Off the top of my head I can think of a dozen better ways to handle the situation. Killing her wasn't one. Norway. You Suck.\u201d— Daniel Schneider (@Daniel Schneider) 1660503567
It might be understandable that public safety is a concern, but the internet was not convinced killing Freya was the solution.
Freya appeared in good health, which should have made her a prime candidate to move to a new location. Walrus were once an endangered species due to over hunting, but are now listed as vulnerable by conservation authorities.
But regardless of what could have been done, Freya's death is now just one more tragic example of what happens to animals when people do not follow the rules.