Suspected Russian Spy Whale Spotted Near Coast Of Sweden
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 20: General view of beluga whales at Wild Arctic at SeaWorld on July 20, 2021 in San Diego, California.
(Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

A male beluga suspected of being trained to be a Russian spy reappeared off the coast of a yet another country, according to a group that tracks the whale.

Hvaldimir, as the whale is known, swam around Norway and showed up in the waters of neighboring Sweden where local authorities are helping to look after the creature, the OneWhale organization announced in a statement Monday.

“After four years of swimming south down the coast of Norway, Hvaldimir – known worldwide as the ‘Russian spy’ beluga whale – is now in Swedish waters,” the group said.

The whale first made headlines in 2019 when it was spotted in Norwegian waters wearing a harness with GoPro camera mounts and clips that said, “Equipment off St Petersburg,” according to CNN.

Norwegian intelligence officials conducted an investigation and told the BBC the whale was likely trained by the Russian military. Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied the existence of programs to train sea mammals for surveillance purposes, even though The Washington Post notes that it published an advertisement several years back seeking to recruit dolphins.

In the years since Hvaldimir showed up in Norwegian waters, the beluga has become a local celebrity. As reported by the BBC, Hvaldimir’s name combines the Norwegian word for whale, “hval,” and the first name of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

OneWhale says on its website that Hvaldimir likes to hang around industrial salmon farms, but a “dramatic” increase in unregulated tourism aimed at the whale has led to the creature being injured by boat propellers and fishing hooks.

Hvaldimir “is a friendly, tamed, displaced, formerly captive whale who relies on humans for social interaction. Belugas are highly social whales and he has been living all alone the past four years,” the group said in its Monday statement.

Sebastian Strand, a marine biologist with OneWhale, told The Guardian that Hvaldimir, who is believed to be between 13 and 14 years old, is at an age where hormones are “very high” and therefore the whale may be searching for other belugas.

Now, according to the OneWhale, there are plans to move the whale north to arctic waters and the group is working with the Norwegian port city of Hammerfest to create a reserve to hold Hvaldimir until he can be released back into a wild beluga population.

“Hvaldimir’s situation remains an extremely vulnerable one as Sweden is a highly populated country, but we are very grateful Swedish authorities have quickly taken action to care for the whale,” said OneWhale President Rich German.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Suspected Russian Spy Whale Spotted Near Coast Of Sweden