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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Popular white whale turns up in Stavanger

A tame white whale that surfaced off the coast of Northern Norway a few years ago has turned up again, now much farther to the south. He’s believed to have been tamed by Russian authorities, given the insignias on belts found strapped around him, and Norwegians are being urged to keep their distance.

The whale has earlier been spotted off Molde and Ålesund and most recently off Karmøy, just north of Stavanger. The whale was dubbed Hvaldimir back in 2019, since the Norwegian word for whale is hval. Given the similarity to the Russian president’s name, Vladimir Putin, Norwegians just couldn’t resist the play on words. Nor was Vladimir Putin as reviled back then as he is now.

Even former Prime Minister Erna Solberg was keen to meet and feed Hvaldimir after he’d seemed to crave attention and made a big splash in the media. He then suddenly appeared to be ailing and wildlife authorities urged people to leave him alone and let him get used to life in the wild.

Russian authorities never acknowledged connections to the whale and theories have emerged that he may have been used for underwater intelligence operations. Marine biologists have been following him ever since and are concerned that Hvaldimir is now the farthest he’s ever been from other flocks of white whale in the Arctic. It’s unclear why Hvaldimir has been swimming fast on a southerly route.

“Either he’s seeking other whales in different areas or he has some sort of migration need,” marine biologist Sebastian Strand of the One Whale organization told state broadcaster NRK on Friday.

NewsinEnglish.no staff

 

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