The video of a tame beluga whale approaching a Norwegian boat off the Arctic island of Ingoya has been viewed extensively over the past few days. The reason behind its popularity is that this whale is believed to be a Russian spy.

The whale that approached the boat had a tight harness on, as can be seen in the video. According to a report published by the BBC, a marine biologist claimed that the harness had a camera holder attached to it with a “label sourcing it to St Petersburg”, but no camera, and was removed by the fishermen. It is noteworthy that Russia has a naval base in the area.

In an interview with a Russian broadcaster, Colonel Viktor Baranets was quoted as saying, “If we were using this animal for spying do you really think we’d attach a mobile phone number with the message ‘please call this number’?”

However, according to the website Live Science, there is a possibility that the whale could have been used as a spy because belugas are “extremely intelligent, calm in difficult situations and easily trainable”.

Some people, however, believe that the whale merely approached the boat for food.