Updated: Oct 8, 2022
Hvaldimir, an adorably curious and playful beluga whale, is often referred to as the Lost Spy Whale!
The young beluga was discovered by Norwegian fisherman in April 2019. He was wearing a tight fitting harness with a camera attached- labeled “Equipment St. Petersburg” (leading locals to surmise he was part of a Russian research operation). Rescue teams freed Hvaldimir, but it was clear that the little whale was very used to humans, and very far from his natural Arctic home. He followed the boat back to the harbor and began swimming up to boats looking for food and attention. He would come when called, allow people to pet him, and even play fetch.
It is easy to see how people everywhere would want to come visit and interact with the friendly whale. However, unregulated tourism and interaction with boats is extremely dangerous for whales. Hvaldimir has had serious injuries from boat propellers, and has also been hurt by fishing hooks and other objects as a result if getting too close to people. Experts worry that he could face additional injuries or death due to the busy waterways. Hvaldimir spends most of his life at commercial salmon farms, which often causes problems and safety concerns for the farm workers.
Seeing an urgent need for intervention, a nonprofit group, OneWhale, was formed to help Hvaldimir. For over two years, whale researchers, veterinarians, and scientists (including Orca Research Trust Founder Dr. Ingrid Visser), have come together to explore ways to provide Hvaldimir with the safe and happy life he deserves.
The Team Hvaldimir Safety Program was established by OneWhale to educate the public and foster a positive relationship with industrial salmon farmers. Volunteers keep an eye on public interaction and help divert Hvaldimir from the salmon farms to give workers a “whale-free workplace” when needed. This has been a big temporary help, but Hvaldimir desperately needs a safe and sustainable place to call home.
Whale lovers around the world are advocating for the creation of a Norwegian Whale Reserve, that could provide a home to not only Hvaldimir, but possibly other captive beluga whales in need of refuge. OneWhale has been working hard to fund this project and make it a reality.
Please take a few minutes and visit OneWhale.org to learn more about Hvaldimir, see some adorable pictures and videos that will capture your heart, and learn how you can help to keep the lovable ‘Lost Spy Whale’ safe.
Photos @ OneWhale.Org