Europe's oldest walrus dead at 40

Natasja, as she is affectionately known, has passed away in the Dolfinarium in Hardewijk on Tuesday night. At 40 years, she was the oldest walrus in Europe. She passed in her sleep.

Piet Mosterd, who has been working with Natasja since 1983, the walrus was a clever girl. "We taught the walruses to shake their heads for 'no'. She understood quickly what it meant and if she didn't want something then she really shook 'no'." There is a lot of sadness at the Dolfinarium. There are four walruses left at the sea mammal park in Hardewijk.

For walruses, passing the age of 40 is an extraordinary feat. Ordinarily, the animals live to between 16 and 30 years, according to the Dolfinarium. The animal has been brought to the faculty of veterinary medicine of the University of Utrecht for research.