A walrus that captured global attention last year for its playful antics in an Oslo fjord before being euthanized by authorities has been memorialized with a bronze sculpture in Norway. Norwegian artist Astri Tonoian created a life-size sculpture of the 1,300-pound mammal, named Freya, which was unveiled at the Oslo marina on Saturday.
The walrus became a popular attraction among Oslo residents, but Norwegian officials made the controversial decision to euthanize the animal, citing public safety concerns. Officials claimed that people had failed to follow guidelines and maintain a safe distance from the massive creature.
News agency NTB reported that a crowdfunding campaign was launched last fall to finance the sculpture. The initiative raised approximately 270,000 Norwegian kroner ($25,000) by October.
The bronze sculpture is located near the spot where the actual walrus was seen basking in the sun and enjoying the Oslo summer in 2022. Tonoian’s work has already received praise from the public, who have described it as a fitting tribute to the beloved animal.
The sculpture serves as a reminder of the public outcry and controversy that surrounded the decision to euthanize the walrus. Many criticized the authorities for not exploring alternative options to preserve the animal’s life.
Norway’s Environment Agency defended the decision, citing the walrus’s aggressive behavior towards humans and boats in the area. The agency stated that the animal had become too comfortable around people, which presented a significant danger to the public.
Despite the controversy, the walrus’s brief but memorable stint in Oslo is likely to be remembered for years to come. The bronze sculpture is a testament to the animal’s impact on the community and the attention it received from people worldwide.