Last week, fishermen in northern Norway reported seeing a beluga whale behaving strangely, seeking out vessels, pulling straps and ropes from the sides of boats. The beluga was wearing a harness that seems to be meant to hold a camera or a weapon with the inscription “Equipment of St. Petersburg.” The harness was promptly removed from the marine animal, which is believed to be a spy whale that has defected from the Russian Navy.
Since it’s been found and freed from its contraption, the whale hangs out around the harbor town of Hammerfest and performs tricks and leaps in the hopes of getting fish from visitors, who have even been able to pet the animal.
Whether the animal is a spy or not, it’s definitely has been trained to fetch what is thrown at him.
Recently, local Hammerfest resident Ina Mansika went down to the waterfront with her friend to hopefully catch a glimpse of the beluga when she accidentally dropped her phone in the water.
Mansika told The Dodo, “We laid down on the dock to look at it and hopefully get the chance to pat it. I had forgotten to close my jacket pocket and my phone fell in the ocean. We assumed it would be gone forever; until the whale dove back down and came back a few moments later with my phone in its mouth!”
The Russian defense ministry has denied running a sea mammal special operations program, but reports mention that the Russian navy has been training beluga whales, among other animals, for military purposes.
One thing for sure is that the whale should not be pet or fed as it needs to stay away from humans and be able to forage to survive on its own. Experts hope the animal will find a pod of beluga to join and swim away to live with its own as a free whale.
H/T: The Dodo