Oslo: It was quite evident this unusually friendly white whale in Norway might be turn out to be trained by the Russian navy as part of a marine mammal special force experts in Norway suggested after recovering a harness from the whale.
The harness surprisingly had the words “Equipment of St. Petersburg” labelled on it which the experts suggest could be used to attach cameras or other instruments.
According to the experts, the beluga whale was first spotted last week in waters off Finnmark — Norway’s most northerly county which borders Russia.
“We were going to put out our nets when we saw a whale swimming between the boats,” 26-year-old fisherman Joar Hesten told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.
According to the fishermen, the whale sought their attention while it made attempts to rub off the harness against the hulls of their boats.
Hesten was able to remove the two straps attached to the animal late on Friday.
“If this whale has this (harness) on for a long time, then it is not good for it,” said Audun Rikardsen, professor at the Department of Arctic and marine biology at the University of Tromsø.
“We know that in Russia they have had domestic whales in captivity and also that some of these have apparently been released. Then they often seek out boats.”
“If this comes from Russia and there is a great reason to believe it, then it is not Russian scientists, but rather the navy that has done this,” said Martin Biuw of the Institute of Marine Research.
Not only Russia but the US has also trained marine mammals including whales, dolphins, sea lions and seals during the Cold War, Vietnam War and the Iraq War.