Experts think that Freya is on her way back north, where she belongs. But finding her way may prove difficult, because Oslo Fjord, where she was most recently spotted, is a dead end on the way north. To get home, she first has to go back south, down to Denmark to cross over to Britain, before going back north.
“She has to turn around, and so far, she hasn’t done so,” Mr. Aae said. “She doesn’t have a map, she doesn’t know it’s a dead end.”
It’s not entirely unusual for a walrus to show up in northern Europe, and similar incidents have occurred before. Most years, at least one walrus can be spotted in European waters, said Dan Jarvis, the director of welfare and conservation at British Divers Marine Life Rescue.
Last year, another walrus, Wally, showed up off the coast of southwest England for about six weeks and climbed up on boats in a busy area of the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago of more than 150 islands. Local officials provided him with a floating dock to lie on, because he destroyed the boats with his roughly 1,760-pound weight. There, too, people got too close and took pictures with him, causing potentially dangerous situations and leading to calls for his removal.
“He was coming to the busiest possible place,” Mr. Jarvis said.
There are roughly 225,000 walruses in the wild, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. They live in ice-covered waters in Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Alaska. In their usual habitat, walruses haul themselves onto sheets of ice. In the case of Freya, she’s hauling herself onto piers and boats. Walruses are suffering from climate change in the form of melting ice sheets, which is causing them to lose some of that habitat.
If that keeps happening, Mr. Jarvis said, “they’re going to have to search further to find somewhere suitable.”