Freya the walrus gains fans while crushing one seafaring vessel at a time

There's a portly new pinniped in the waters off Oslo this summer. Freya the walrus has slowly made her way round several ports of call in the Baltic Sea. Her favorite pastimes include sunbathing, seafood and crushing seafaring vessels. But her face has launched a thousand tweets, and even some fan art. Malcolm Brabant has the story.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    There's a portly new pinniped in the waters off Oslo this summer.

    Freya the walrus has slowly made her way around several ports of call in the Baltic Sea. Her favorite pastimes, sunbathing, seafood, and crushing seafaring vessels. Her face has launched 1,000 tweets, and even some fan art.

    And we must now beg forgiveness from John, George, Ringo and especially the Walrus, Paul, as we bring you this tribute to Freya from our Scandinavian wildlife correspondent, Malcolm Brabant.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    Climbing on a Nordic vessel, waiting for the sun, man, you have been a naughty girl. You made the boat go down.

    You aren't a deckhand. Call out the frogmen, Freya the walrus. Apologies to the Beatles for butchering their psychedelic hits, but here in the Baltic, there's a new walrus in town. And she's causing mayhem in her quest for the perfect pleasure cruiser.

    Nadia Jdaini, Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries: You can see she's a big lady, and that she is curious and she's not afraid of people. And she loves to rest.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    Nadia Jdaini from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries is part of a team trying to take care of Freya's welfare and security.

  • Nadia Jdaini:

    The main thing is to observe and make people get the information how to be safe around her and also make her safe around people.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    Named after the Norse goddess of love and beauty, Freya weighs in at 1,300 pounds. Freya was also the goddess of war. No wonder boats send out distress signals when she clambers on board.

    I sympathize. I know what it feels like to be a shipping hazard. Freya's adventures have garnered fans among the Twitterati. Freya is quite the traveler. She has been spotted in Britain. She's been seen here in Denmark and in Sweden. Her natural habitat is the Arctic, but the Baltic Sea is lake-like, and it is very to find the exit, especially if you have lost your bearings, like Freya.

    Perhaps that's why she's trying to hijack the perfect boat.

    Rune Aae is a researcher for Norway's South-eastern university. He encountered Freya in March and since then has been tracking and mapping her movements.

  • Rune Aae, South-Eastern University:

    She is really fat. And she has a lot of food in the area. she's eating scallops, mussels, so there's no problem with feeding. She comes from Svalbard, and I guess she want to go back to her flock.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    Here's hoping that Freya makes it home. My advice, keep swimming.

    I'm really getting too long in the tooth for stories like this. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Malcolm Brabant in the Baltic Sea.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And Freya's story has never been told in the way that Malcolm has just told it.

    Malcolm, we will never think of you the same way.

Listen to this Segment