Freya the Walrus Is Sinking Boats, Winning Hearts

Just call it the 'Summer of Freya'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2022 6:58 AM CDT

Remember when the world couldn't get enough of April the giraffe? There's a new female creature that's capturing hearts and minds—one who is a whole lot shorter and far more portly. It's the "Summer of Freya," declares Gizmodo, a reference to the increasingly beloved Freya the walrus. The young female ended up south of the "more northerly latitudes of the Arctic" where her kind typically live, reports the AFP, with sightings reported in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden. She's been hunkered down in Norway since June and has achieved a sort of celebrity status there, reports the BBC, which adds that some believe this may be her final "European stop-off."

Since her Norwegian arrival, the 1,300-pound animal has been hauling herself onto boats in an attempt to get the up-to-20-hours of sleep walruses log per day. The boats don't always fare so well. "It's a pity about the material damage but that’s the way it is when you have wild animals," said fisheries official Rolf Harald Jensen in reference to an inflatable boat that couldn't manage Freya's weight; euronews reports she has managed to sink a few small boats and inflatables. Some have raised fears that people wouldn't fare well around her either, with local media citing stories of a kayaker that got too close and a boy who fell off a paddleboard near Freya and needed a rescue.

That's led to some chatter about whether Freya—she's named after the Norse goddess of love and beauty—should be moved or even euthanized. The country's Directorate of Fisheries weighed in Monday, saying she can stay put but cautioning against intentionally getting close to her. "[She] is not necessarily as slow and ham-fisted as one might think when she is resting." (Read more walruses stories.)

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