(NewsReady.com) – Norway reported it found a suspected Russian spy whale in 2019. Marine biologist Professor Audun Rikardsen said the beluga whale was wearing a GoPro camera holder harness with a label identifying its source in St. Petersburg, Russia. Fishermen removed the harness, and the Norwegian government believed Russians trained the whale. The marine animal has now been spotted again in another country.
On May 28, experts observed the friendly beluga whale off the coast of Sweden. Reports show he was seen in Hunnebostrand after spending three years slowly making his way up the Norwegian coast. Suddenly the whale sped up before ending up off the Swedish coast.
OneWhale marine biologist Sebastian Strand told The Guardian that it’s unclear why the whale “sped up so fast,” especially since it moved away from its “natural environment” so quickly. He said he could be looking for a mate or might be lonely and looking for other belugas. Strand explained that the whales are a “very social species.” Right now, scientists believe the whale is about 13 years old, an “age where his hormones are very high.”
Scientists have named the whale Hvaldimir, a play on Vladimir Putin’s name and “hval,” the Norwegian word for whale. They’re concerned about the beluga’s ability to find food in the waters off of Sweden. Though seemingly in “very good” health for the last few years, he appears to have lost some weight. In Norway, he reportedly ate fish raised in the country’s salmon farms.
Russia has never addressed the accusations that the whale is a spy. However, the country is known to have trained marine animals. They help with multiple tasks, including locating lost equipment, assisting divers, and guarding the country’s naval bases. Hvaldimir behaves as though he was around humans before, adding to the suspicion that the Russian military has trained him.
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