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Norway walrus 'Freya' could be euthanized if humans don't stay away

Freya the walrus is seen in Frognerkilen Bay in Norway on July 20. Officials say that humans are getting too close to the animal, creating a potential danger that may ultimately require that she be euthanized. Photo by Trond Reidar Teigen/EPA-EFE
Freya the walrus is seen in Frognerkilen Bay in Norway on July 20. Officials say that humans are getting too close to the animal, creating a potential danger that may ultimately require that she be euthanized. Photo by Trond Reidar Teigen/EPA-EFE

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Norwegian officials warned Friday they may have to euthanize a 1,500-pound beloved walrus if humans don't stay away from her in Oslo Harbor.

Freya the walrus can often be seen sunbathing in the harbor and has won legions of fans who want to catch a glimpse. But the animal's sheer size makes her a danger for sightseers if they get too close.

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The walrus has already been blamed for sinking several unwitting boats that that ventured too close.

Norwegian government spokesperson Nadia Jdaini said there are also serious concerns from experts about Freya's health, which has deteriorated recently.

Jdaini said that people have recently been seen swimming with the walrus and approaching it with children to take photographs.

"The fact that the walrus has become an attraction escalates the need for further measures," Jdaini said according to BBC News. "Our biggest fear is that people could get hurt."

"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."

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Observers first noticed Freya hanging around Oslo last month and named her after the Norse goddess of beauty and love. Walruses are protected species and usually live closer to the Arctic.

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