The walrus Freya, social media star, sunbathes on boats and sinks them with his weight

OSLO He eats oysters and ducks, takes a siesta on motorboats (he is more uncomfortable on rubber boats, because they sink below 600 kg), has visited the English coasts, then Holland, Denmark, a visit to Sweden and now Norway, in full view and on the front page of the newspapers: since it has taken a seat without many compliments in the port of Oslo.
The long hot summer of Freya, tricheco, indeed walrus, traveling far from the domestic Arctic ice pack, is feeding the news, the enthusiasm of social media and even monopolizing the Norwegian information, which is dedicating live shows to the wanderings of the mighty marine mammal to follow its adventures live. It has been since July 17 that Freya has settled in the busy waters of Oslo. Earlier this month she had caused a sensation as she casually waded into the chic marina of Kragero on the southern shores of Norway, where she sank a couple of beautiful dinghies and distinguished herself for glamorous siestas aboard small yachts.

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Freya-watching has turned into one of the hottest activities of this Nordic summer: Freya chasing a duck (the direct of the crime is actually quite impressive), Freya chasing a swan, Freya diving to make a feast of shellfish, Freya who chooses a boat to rest in the sun (the walrus siestas can last up to 20 hours), Freya who turns wearily, but not without a certain boast, to observe the paparazzi. Although not very rare (last year the adventures of Wally, a handsome walrus who had gone as far as the northern shores of Spain before being able to return above Iceland had caused the same sensation), the fact that mammals like Freya find themselves at prohibitive latitudes it is certainly not a good sign.

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Biologists point the finger at the anthropocene, or the invasive human footprint on the environment, and also, of course, on global warming. Freya has probably not chosen her will to take a vacation in the South Seas, but she may have found herself adrift on a piece of ice, softened by too high temperatures. Freya is now constantly monitored. The head of the Directorate of Fisheries in Oslo, Rolf Harald Jensen, said yesterday that the animal “is well and rests”.

However, not everyone has the intention of succumbing to the charm of Freya (who stole the name of a Nordic goddess of love and beauty): “We must bring it down,” said biologist Espen Filed bluntly, according to whom the walrus has already done a lot of damage and could do even more serious, not to mention the danger it can pose to humans. “We’re seeing a Bambi effect, but it’s not reasonable,” he added. Nobody, however, seems willing to listen to him. The Norwegian authorities limited themselves to warning swimmers and onlookers to stay away from Freya even though she is very sympathetic: “A walrus is not dangerous, we read in some signs, provided that human beings remain at a good distance”. What she really can’t stand, they explained to everyone, is being disturbed when she sleeps. The hope is that she will get enough rest and she will find the strength and orientation to return home to the far north.

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