Culture 3 min read

Whale Suspected Of Being A Russian Spy Found In Norway

Image via NRK

Image via NRK

Last week, fishermen near the Norwegian village of Inga raised the alarm after seeing a white beluga whale with an unusual strapping. Why is this a big deal?

The Russian navy reportedly has a special ops force program for underwater mammals. And as far fetched as it sounds, the marine experts in Norway believe that the white whale may have been a part of the programme.

Speaking to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, fisherman Joar Hesten said:

“We were going to put out nets when we saw a whale swimming between the boats. It came over to us, and as it approached, we saw that it had some sort of harness on it.”

According to the fisherman, the mammal began to act strange. Aside from actively seeking out the vessel and trying to pull its ropes, the whale also wore a tight harness which looked like a camera or a weapon. Also, the animal was very tame, like it was used to human presence.

This raised suspicion among marine experts. They believed that the whale might have undergone military-grade training in the neighboring country, Russia.

Upon removing the harness, the Norwegian experts found an inscription which confirmed their belief. The words were “Equipment of St. Petersburg. ”

Martin Biuw of the Institute of Marine Research in Norway said:

“If this whale 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.”

According to a professor at the department of arctic and marine biology at the Arctic University of Norway, Audun Rikardsen, the whale’s harness is not from any Russian research facility. Instead, the professor said it most likely came from the Russian navy in Murmansk.

Military Training For Whales, Dolphins, and Seals

In the 1980s, Soviet Russia launched a programme to recruit underwater mammals for military training. Dolphins, with their echolocation, good memory, and stealth are believed to be the perfect underwater tool for detecting weapons.

Although the mammal training programme ended in the 1990s, a 2017 report revealed the Russian navy had restarted the programme. They are once again training seals, beluga whales, and bottlenose dolphins.

According to TV Zvezda – a defense ministry-owned station – the Murmansk Sea Biology Research Institute in northern Russia is handling the training on behalf of the navy.

The researchers hope to train the whales to “guard entrances to naval bases in arctic regions, assist deepwater divers and if necessary kill any strangers who enter their territory.”

Read More: Russia’s DARPA Revives the 100-Year-Old Cyclocopter

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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