A Russian Beluga whale (above) that has been inhabiting the Norwegian waters is fast developing a reputation for its cheerful disposition.
The whale has been named Hvaldimir by social media users, following its surreal rise to fame earlier in 2019, when it was believed to be a spy from the Russian navy in Norwegian waters, thanks to the GoPro camera harness marked “St. Petersburg” found on its body.
The exploitation of marine mammals as military agents is not unheard of, dating as far back as World War I, writes Gervase Philips.
The video above shows the Beluga playfully nudging a daring seagull as the bird floats about in circles, daring enough to stay in the water. Hvaldimir doesn’t appear to want to harm the gull, and is actually seen attempting to hand the bird a fish that had earlier slipped from its beak.
This isn’t the first time Hvaldimir has played fetch. The friendly whale fished out and retrieved a cell phone to a Norwegian traveller in May 2019, after she accidentally dropped it in the ocean. See the video below:
However, Beluga whales are usually not as friendly. In fact they are normally extremely shy. Hvaldimir seems to be very accustomed to humans (possibly due to the training it has received), and is constantly seeking attention from Norwegian boats.
This means Hvaldimir may not be equipped to survive alone in the wild. According to The Washington Post, a plan is being considered that will have it relocated to a sanctuary in Iceland.