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Norway warns people to stay away from ‘spy’ whales — RT World News

The white beluga whale nicknamed ‘Hvaldimir’ was first spotted in 2019 and is believed to be Russian

The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has warned Oslo residents to keep their distance from “Hvaldimir” the white whale that seems to have chosen the fjord as its permanent home after cruising the Norwegian coast in 2019.

“We particularly 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,” Fisheries Director Frank Bakke-Jensen said Wednesday.

Norway considers the beluga to be a protected species. Bakke-Jensen believes the whale “now resides in the inner Oslofjord,” a densely populated area which increases the risk of injury from human contact. He said that Hvaldimir suffered “minor injuries” contact with the forward boats.

The whale first came to attention in April 2019 when it appeared on the northern coast of Norway and continued to approach fishing boats. The marine mammal had been wearing a camera harness labeled ‘Gear St. Petersburg’, suggesting it was a “Russian spy”.

The friendly whale was soon nicknamed Hvaldimir, after the Norwegian word for whale and the play on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name.

A Norwegian outlet reported a theory that Hvaldimir was actually Russian – a beluga named Semyon, from a marine sanctuary training whales to play with children for therapeutic purposes. Although this would explain the whale’s friendliness towards humans, no one has ever been able to confirm this claim.

That hasn’t stopped online jokes about Hvaldimir’s spy mission for Moscow, especially since the US Navy’s nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Gerald Ford has also just arrived. at the port of Oslo.

The Norwegian authorities seem content to let Hvaldimir roam freely for now.

“We have always communicated that the whale in question is a free-living animal and we see no reason to capture it and put it behind bars,” said Bakke-Jensen. “Now that it is in a more vulnerable area and access to food may be limited, we will consider different measures. But it’s still too early to say anything specific about it. »

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