Norway: Russian “spy” beluga whales worry the authorities
A beluga whale nicknamed Hvaldimir, suspected of being a Russian spy, has appeared along the coast of Norway wearing a harness marked “St. Petersburg” with a camera. This is not the first time it has appeared along the Norwegian coast.
A beluga friendly suspected ofspying. Norwegian authorities have urged residents not to approach a beluga named Hvaldimir. This friendly mammal is not unknown to Norwegianshe already came near the Norwegian coast in 2019.
Experts had approached him and now suspect him of being a spy sent by Russia because of the markings on his harness. It is inscribed “St. Petersburg”; it is also equipped with mounts for an underwater camera, which led experts to believe that the beluga had been trained by the Russian navy.
Norway warns civilians to stay away from Russian spy whale https://t.co/JBU6ooIB8k pic.twitter.com/M1EHyyyt4n
—Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) May 25, 2023
The singular secret agent reappeared recently in the densely populated area of Inner Oslofjord, where he follows boats and attracts the attention of people on board, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries warned on Wednesday. Agency director Frank Bakke-Jensen urged residents to avoid contact with Hvaldimir for the animal’s safety, even though he is docile and used to being around people. “We especially encourage people in the boat to keep a good distance to prevent the whale from being injured or, in the worst case, killed by boat traffic,” Bakke-Jensen said.
A reference to the Russian president
The beluga whale was nicknamed Hvaldimir after Russian President Vladimir Putin. She will not be captured by the authorities despite her possible links to the country. “We have always maintained that the whale in question is a free-living animal and we see no reason to capture it and put it behind fences,” Bakke-Jensen said.
However, his movements will be monitored by marine officials. Marine biologists, including Joergen Ree Wiig, say the whale was clearly trained and likely originated from Russia.
The Russian Navy is known to train beluga whales to carry out military operations, said Joergen Ree Wiig, marine biologist at the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, in April 2019. Whales trained by the Russian Navy are usually tasked with protecting naval bases , to help divers and to find lost equipment, but they can also be used for other purposes, he added.