Hvaldimir the Friendly Beluga Whale, Thought to Be a Russian Spy, Finds New Home in Northernmost Norway

In April 2019, a very outgoing and friendly Beluga whale named Hvaldimir, who was wearing a harness, followed a sailboat into the northern Norway port town of Hammerfest where he made himself known immediately. The harness he was wearing was in Russian, so those who interacted with him jokingly called him a Russian spy. The harness was removed, but Hvaldimir stayed.

It was clear that Hvaldimir had been trained by humans and highly reliant upon humans to feed him. The whale was malnourished and underweight. Norwegian officials approved a plan to feed Hvaldimir. Researchers also put a tracking camera on his back, so they would always know where he was.

After Hvaldimir reached a healthy weight, he became more independent swimming from port to port, sometimes returning to Hammerfest. Most recently, the friendly Beluga whale showed up near a fjord in Alta, Finnmark the most northern county in Norway.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.