Suspected Russian ‘spy’ whale spotted off coast of Sweden

200&auto=webp" />

a harness-wearer beluga Whales trained by the Russian Navy have reappeared SwedenCoast of

Spy” whale It was first reported in April 2019, when he was discovered near northern Norway with a harness attached to his body and labeled “Equipment of St. Petersburg”.

He was nicknamed “Hvaldimir” by the Norwegians – a pun on the word for whale in Norwegian, whaleand nodded a nod to the Russian President Vladimir Putin,

The whale, which was found in a malnourished state, spent more than three years slowly drifting along the top half of the Norwegian coastline before it suddenly picked up speed to cover the other half and sail to Sweden.

The whale was spotted off Hunnebostrand off Sweden’s southwest coast on Sunday, AFP reported.

“We don’t know why it’s growing so fast right now,” Sebastian Strand, a marine biologist with the organization OneWhale, told the news agency.

He said it was particularly puzzling because the whales were “moving very quickly away from their natural environment”.

“It could be hormones driving him to find a mate. Or it could be loneliness because the beluga is a very social species – it could be him searching for other beluga whales.”

The whale is believed to be 13 to 14 years old and at an age where “its hormones are very high”, he told AFP.

The closest beluga whales live further north in the Arctic Ocean and in the colder waters north of Norway and around Greenland.

A beluga whale wearing the Go Pro harness is seen in Norwegian waters in 2019

(Jorgen Rei Wiig)

Directorate officials previously said the whale may have escaped from an enclosure, and may have been trained by the Russian Navy, as it appeared to be accustomed to humans.

In November 2019, the whale was Filmed “playing catch” with a group of South African rugby fans, The whale was known to visit boats to seek and fetch food and appears to have been domesticated, suggesting that it was used to interacting with humans.

The whale had previously made headlines for retrieving and returning a phone that had accidentally fallen overboard.

According to the Hvaldimir Foundation, whales may be dependent on humans due to hand feeding and do not seem to be able to successfully hunt and feed for themselves.

Mr Strand said Hvaldimir’s health had “looked great” in recent years, as he continues to fish under Norway’s salmon farms.

Biologists said in the past belugas were used to guard naval bases, help divers and find lost equipment. Whales were reportedly trained by the Soviet Union during the Cold War to sniff out mines and torpedoes.

A Russian military spokesman denied in April that Hvaldimir was linked to a training program, while acknowledging that dolphins are sometimes used for military purposes.