A Cautionary Tale
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A Norwegian artist unveiled the life-sized sculpture of a walrus named Freya in the capital of Oslo this week, in memory of the marine mammal that was killed by authorities last year over safety concerns, the New York Times reported.
Artist Astri Tonoian created the bronze artwork using photos of the 1,300-pound walrus that appeared around Oslo’s piers last summer. An online campaign that raised $25,000 supported the work’s creation.
Named after the Norse goddess of love, beauty and war, Freya the walrus became a local and international sensation after it hung around the highly populated areas of the capital.
Despite warnings from officials, many tried to see the walrus and there were instances when the animal jumped into boats – some of which almost sank.
Amid concerns that she posed a risk to humans, Norwegian authorities euthanized the animal, an act that critics called hasty.
Tonoian explained that the statue aims to create a “historic document about the case” and the surrounding controversy that speaks to “humans’ ability to face (the) unknown.”
Hans Erik Holm, the organizer of the fundraising website, wrote that the sculpture serves as a reminder that “we cannot or should not always kill and remove nature when it is ‘in the way.’”
He also described it as “a statement against the government.”
Following Freya’s death, Norwegian officials countered that the large mammal was euthanized in a “humane fashion.” They added that the massive amount of attention she received was stressing her and that Freya was an in “an area that wasn’t natural for her.”