THE beloved walrus Freya has been put down after getting “too close to people” as crowds gathered around the distressed animal and took selfies.
Norwegian officials said the curious animal posed “a continued threat to human safety” and confirmed euthanising her.
The lovable mammal won the public’s attention after being snapped basking in the sun on an Oslo fjord and for climbing up on boats and getting close to passers-by.
Public appeals to stay away from Freya – a 1,300lb female – fell on deaf ears as the mammal continued to attract large crowds.
Though walruses aren’t typically known to attack humans, their size and weigh can pose a danger.
Fisheries director Frank Bakke-Jensen said inspections of Freya’s resting places in the past week “made clear that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus”.
He said: “Therefore, the Directorate has concluded, the possibility for potential harm to people was high and animal welfare was not being maintained.
“We have considered all possible solutions carefully. We concluded that we could not ensure the animals welfare through any means available.
“We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence.
“The operation was conducted in a humane fashion.”
Freya made headlines in mid July when she was first spotted in waters off the Norwegian capital.
Her name is a reference to the Norse goddess of beauty and love.
The popular beast has been captured napping, chasing a duck, attacking a swan, and dozing off on boats struggling to hold her weight.
Despite warnings against approaching her, onlookers would come up close, often with kids in tow, to take photos with Freya.
Freya’s death comes after the Norwegian directorate warned on Friday that “the walrus has become an attraction escalates the need for further measures”.
It said: “Our biggest fear is that people could get hurt…
“We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative.”
Walruses are known to live in the Arctic but this creature is believed to have come under considerable stress during her stay in Oslo.
One expert said her health had “clearly declined” as a result of not getting enough rest and that it was suspected she was suffering from stress.
In 2016, a walrus killed a man at a Chinese zoo.
Jia Lijun was taking pictures alone at the park when the walrus, allegedly weighing 1.5tonnes, grabbed him from behind.
Walruses are a protected species and normally eat molluscs, small fish, shrimps and crabs.