There’s a mysterious and very nice whale swimming through open waters near Hammerfest, Norway.
It’s a beautiful beluga whale who has found and returned a cell phone to a woman who accidentally dropped it in the ocean. The same whale has also been pestering fisherman in search of food.
All of this is strange behavior for a species of whale that is usually shy and timid around humans and other animals.
While people don’t know much about the whale’s origins, he is believed to have been trained by the Russian navy. He has since deserted his post and set off on his own – with part of his harness still intact.
There are rumors that the whale was used as a spy because the harness is a suspected camera holder. That being said, Russia’s Northern Fleet is just 258 miles away in Murmansk.
The beluga appears very tame and has approached a number of boats asking for food. And now, he has retrieved a woman’s cell phone making him the world’s sweetest and most considerate whale.
Ina Mansika and her pals were exploring the beauty of Hammerfest when they decided to head down to the water to see if they could catch a glimpse of the viral whale.
That’s when something incredible happened. Not only did they see the majestic whale hanging out near the waterfront, but he saved Mansika’s day when she dropped her phone in the water.
“We laid down on the dock to look at it and hopefully get the chance to pat it,” Mansika shared with The Dodo.
“I had forgotten to close my jacket pocket and my phone fell in the ocean. We assumed it would be gone forever, until the whale dove back down and came back a few moments later with my phone in its mouth!”
Don’t just take our word for it, there’s documented footage of the moment it happened:
The only problem? I think the whale wanted some fish in return, but all he got was a pet to the face.
Mansika couldn’t believe her eyes. “Everyone was so surprised. We almost didn’t believe what we saw,” she said. “I was super happy and thankful that I got my phone back.”
Sadly, water damage had already gotten the best of her device, and it was broken beyond repair. That didn’t stop Mansika’s appreciation.
“I love animals! The whale is so kind.”
Originally, the mysterious (and Lassie-like) whale approached a Norwegian fisherman who noticed the harness wrapped around the whale’s body. The whale continued to harass the fisherman and his crew and so they removed his harness.
That didn’t stop the friendly fellow from wanting to play fetch.
The fishermen noted that the harness read “Equipment St. Petersburg.” The harness has since been handed over to Norway’s Police Security Service.
According to a Norwegian expert, the Russian navy is known to train beluga whales for a variety of purposes.
So far, no one has denied that the whale escaped from the Russian navy, nor have they confirmed it.
People who have interacted with the whale are worried that he can’t find a group to join and is therefore relying on humans for food.
Officials are closely watching the whale and keeping his best interests at heart. There is a growing concern that he can’t survive in the wild on his own due to his previous training and lack of a family group.
Beluga whales are usually very shy and stray away from human contact. Therefore, it’s odd that the whale has only traveled around 25 nautical miles over the last week and enjoys being so close to humans.
He has even let several people pet him on the nose.
As of last week, Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) said the whale is still “cruising around outside the city of Hammerfest.”
When beluga whales find themselves isolated, they often become more trusting.
The Washington Post reports that a tentative plan is being considered to relocate him to a sanctuary in Iceland where he would be properly cared for in a quality environment.
The PST released a statement to The Washington Post that read: “the harness is currently in our possession. We must admit that examining technical equipment attached to whales is not a daily occurrence for PST.”
“It is unclear if we will find anything,” said Martin Bernsen, a PST communications adviser. As of now, “The whale is not a suspect in our investigation.”
Researchers speculate that the harness may have carried weapons or cameras, causing many to speculate on a sea mammal special operations program.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied that such a program exists, but then again, in 2016 they published an ad looking for 2 female and 3 male bottlenose dolphins they were willing to pay $24,000 for – explain that, Russia.