Norway: We found whale trained in Russian military base
Christian Fernsby ▼ |
Norwegian officials say a beluga whale may have escaped a Russian military facility after local fishermen discovered the animal wearing a tight harness with Russian origins last week.
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Joergen Ree Wiig of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said "Equipment St. Petersburg" was written on the harness strap, which featured a mount for an action camera.
He said fishermen in Arctic waters last week reported the tame white cetacean with the tight harness to the directorate.
On Friday, fisherman Joar Hesten, aided by Mr Ree Wiig, jumped into the frigid water to remove the harness.
Mr Ree Wiig said "people in Norway's military have shown great interest" in the harness.
Audun Rikardsen, a professor at the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsoe, believed it was "most likely that Russian Navy in Murmansk" was involved.
Russia has major military facilities in and around Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula, in the far north-west of Russia.
Professor Rikardsen said he checked with scholars in Russia and Norway, and they said they had not reported any program or experiments using beluga whales.
"This is a tame animal that is used to getting food served so that is why it has made contact with the fishermen," he said.
"The question is now whether it can survive by finding food by itself." ■
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