Freya, the walrus killed by Norwegian officials, is immortalized as a sculpture

When a 1,300-pound walrus appeared in Oslo last summer, lounging on piers and eating clams, it became a popular local treat and an overnight international media sensation.

A rare visitor to Norway’s capital, the walrus was named Freya, after the Norse goddess of love, beauty and war – who inspired them all to varying degrees.

Freya spent time in densely populated areas, where some people ignored warnings from officials to keep their distance and helped themselves onto boats, some of which threatened to sink her due to her weight.

Norwegian authorities last August declared Freya a threat to human security and killed her in a move critics said was premature. Her death divided a country linked to diplomacy and a love of nature.

A sculpture in her memory, titled For Our Sins, was unveiled at Kongen Marina in Oslo on Saturday.

Astri Tonoian, a Norwegian artist, spent months creating the sculpture based on photos of the animal. In a phone interview on Sunday, she said she wanted to create a “historical document of the case” and the controversy surrounding it, one that spoke of “man’s ability to face the unknown.”

“We need to practice coexistence” with humans and wildlife, Ms Tonoian said.

The bronze sculpture is a life-size representation of Freya, who weighs approximately 650 pounds, about half her true weight as the interior is hollow. An online campaign that raised $25,000 helped create the work.

The sculpture “will always remind us (and future generations) that we cannot and should not always kill and remove nature when it is ‘in the way,'” wrote the fundraising website organizer Hans Erik Holm on his site.

“I wanted to do it for the people, through the people,” Mr Holm said in a phone interview on Sunday, adding: “This is a statement against the government” for killing Freya.

Kongen Marina is near where Freya was euthanized, Ms Tonoian said, and also near a museum she called “a symbol of knowledge”.

The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said in a statement in August that Freya was euthanized in a “humane manner” because “the possibility of potential harm to humans was high and animal welfare was not upheld”.

At the time, the ministry also released a photo of a large group of people gathered close enough to touch Freya, citing veterinary experts as saying, “The walrus seemed stressed by the massive attention.”

“In the end we didn’t see any other options,” Olav Lekver, a spokesman for the agency, said at the time. “She was in a realm that wasn’t natural to her.”

Ms Tonoian said the sculpture is also a realistic representation for those not lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Freya.

She was particularly moved when a blind man came to the unveiling on Saturday, she said.

“He had no idea what a walrus looked like,” she said, but now “he was brought into the conversation about this walrus by feeling and sensing it.”

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