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Sculpture of Freya the Boat-Sinking Walrus Unveiled 8 Months After Animal's Controversial Death

The 1300-lb. walrus had been a tourist attraction off Norway's coast for years but became a social media star in 2022 when she began sinking boats searching for the ideal sunbathing spot

Annika Byrde/NTB/AFP/Getty
Annika Byrde/NTB/AFP/Getty

A life-sized bronze sculpture of Freya the walrus, who was euthanized by Norwegian authorities last year due to public safety concerns, is now on display in Norway.

Per BBC, Erik Holm organized an online campaign to raise funds for the project, receiving a total of $25,000.

Holm told the news outlet AFP, "I started this because I'm furious about the way the [Norwegian] Fisheries Directorate and the state handled this situation."

Freya had been a tourist attraction off Norway's coast for years but became a social media star in the summer of 2022 when she began sinking boats searching for the ideal sunbathing spot.

Related:Giant Softshell Turtle Facing Extinction After Last Known Female Dies

TOR ERIK SCHRDER/NTB/AFP via Getty Images
TOR ERIK SCHRDER/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

But last August, officials decided to put the 1300-lb. walrus down after observing the animal's interactions with the public and deciding "that the public has disregarded the current recommendation to keep a clear distance to the walrus." The decision to euthanize the animal was controversial due to the admiration Freya had won for her commitment to relaxation.

Artist Astri Tonoian told CNN of her inspiration for the sculpture, "In my head, my goal was to make an immortal symbol of people's ability to mistreat not just wildlife but also humans."

Tonoian added that she hopes the statue will serve as a "three-dimension history lesson."

Related:Freya the Walrus Euthanized by Norway Officials Over Public Safety Fears

Annika Byrde/NTB/AFP/Getty
Annika Byrde/NTB/AFP/Getty

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"This is how humans treat wild nature, but it is also how humans treat humans," said Tonoian, according to BBC. "This is how we treated Freya. And so, I will call the statue For Our Sins."

Tonoian also told CNN about the circumstances surrounding Freya's euthanasia, "The authorities could have acted more quickly and tried to move her instead of shooting her. They waited too long, and it became dangerous for the people. They decided to do the 'quick fix.'"

Director General Frank Bakke-Jensen of Norway's Directorate of Fisheries told CNN before that they considered other options. However, "the extensive complexity of such an operation made us conclude that this was not a viable option." He added, "We have great regard for animal welfare, but human life and safety must take precedence."

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