‘Russian spy’ beluga whale Hvaldimir has now left Norwegian waters for Sweden.
— Regina Haug
KUNGSHAMN, SWEDEN, May 28, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — After four years of swimming south down the coast of Norway, Hvaldimir – known worldwide as the ‘Russian spy’ beluga whale – is now in Swedish waters.
The nonprofit organization OneWhale has been working to protect Hvaldimir and advocating for his safety since 2019. Their “Team Hvaldimir” is on site and working side-by-side with the Swedish authorities. Founder Regina Haug says, “We are impressed by Sweden’s show of care for Hvaldimir. They immediately contacted us upon his arrival, and even closed a bridge to protect him.”
Hvaldimir made global news in the past several days when he appeared in Oslo, the capitol city of Norway. Being in an area of one million people with heavy boat traffic and major industry had the OneWhale team extremely concerned for his safety. But the famous beluga skirted around the dangerous waters of Oslo for Sweden.
OneWhale President Rich German says, “Hvaldimir’s situation remains an extremely vulnerable one as Sweden is a highly populated country, but we are very grateful Swedish authorities have quickly taken action to care for the whale.”
Plans are underway to move the whale far north to arctic waters. OneWhale has partnered with the town of Hammerfest and together they are creating the Norwegian Whale Reserve. When finished, the massive 500-acre marine reserve would be a safe place for Hvaldimir to live until an attempt can be made to release him back into a wild beluga population. The reserve will also be a home for other whales who are currently living in captivity.
Hvaldimir first arrived in Hammerfest, Norway in April 2019 wearing a harness that read ‘Equipment St. Petersburg.’ It is believed he was part of a Russian marine mammal military program for several years. He is a friendly, tamed, displaced, formerly captive whale who relies on humans for social interaction. Belugas are highly social whales and he has been living all alone the past four years.
Communication between OneWhale and the Swedish authorities are ongoing as Hvaldimir’s perilous situation continues.
Hvaldimir riding the bow of a boat