NORWAY (NBC News) – The beluga whale spotted last week in Norway wearing a harness that caused speculation that it might be a Russian-trained asset, is not keeping a low profile. They called it the Russian spy whale… a beluga whale that appeared off the coast of Norway a few days ago wearing a go-pro camera-mount and a harness stamped equipment St. Petersburg.
Now locals claim the whale is defecting to Norway. The whale has become something of a local celebrity. It loves humans and is so tame it lets people pet it. Not exactly normal whale behavior.
“The whale was really friendly and came up to us and started opening its mouth, and just checking us out,” says Marine Biologist and Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries Inspector, Jorgen Ree Wiig. “We were trying to talk to it.”
Now, is it really a Russian spy? We don’t know. Russia does have a history of using marine animals for espionage.
But an official with the Norwegian directorate of fisheries told NBC News he thinks the whale may have come from a so-called “Russian whale jail,” which was illegally selling whales to aquariums and shutdown last year. It is believed some of those animals were released into the wild.
Whatever the whale’s past, it seems to feel right at home in Norway. Experts aren’t sure what the future holds but, in the meantime, they’re urging people to stop feeding it, so it learns to forage on its own.