The whale had been seen in the waters of Hammerfest, Norway for a while and was attracting visitors with its friendliness.
A video of a lone Beluga whale returning a phone that was accidentally dropped into the ocean has been going viral on the internet. It is not surprising why - the gesture by the whale is astonishing and speaks volumes about the creature's intelligence. This particular incident took place in Hammerfast, Norway when Ina Mansika and her friends paid this whale a visit. The creature had become quite famous after being spotted in the local waters with a harness. Authorities were of the belief the whale had been trained as a spy by the Russian Navy and had gotten used to being close to humans. The stories of the friendliness of this whale began to spread far and wide and drew many visitors, such as Mansika. During the encounter, when she reached out to pat the whale on its nose, her phone fell out of her jacket into the water. What happened next shocked her and her friends.
A whale returns the lost phone to its owner. 🐋💙🌊— 𝕸𝖆𝖗i𝖆 𝕯𝖔𝖓𝖓𝖊𝖑𝖑𝖆𝖓 𝕸𝖊𝖑𝖑𝖆 Ⓥ (@eyre_mella) May 10, 2019
A gentle beluga whale in Norway, returns to a girl his mobile phone that little earlier had fallen into the water.#beluga #ocean #plasticpollution #oceanpollution #PlasticFreeDay #SaveTheOcean pic.twitter.com/XSH3TIusSG
In the viral video taken by one of Mansika's friends, the whale was seen going down to the depths of the waters to retrieve the phone. The creature is seen holding the phone in its mouth as it makes its way slowly up to the surface where Mansika and her friends are waiting. She then takes the phone from its mouth. Beluga whales are one of the cleverest creatures out there. It's no wonder they are regularly trained by humans for reasons of leisure (as in water parks) or as this particular one, as a possible spy. Speaking about the incident with The Dodo, Mansika said, "We laid down on the dock to look at it and hopefully get the chance to pat it. 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!"
She added, "Everyone was so surprised. We almost didn't believe what we saw. I was super happy and thankful that I got my phone back." While Mansika's phone could not be saved since too much water made it inoperable, she said it was worth the clip and was appreciative of the whale's friendly gesture. "I love animals! The whale is so kind." Instagram account isaopdahllarsson (who is probably Mansika's friend who took the video) shared the video on her page. It has so far received nearly 350,000 likes and commented on many times. One of her followers kathleentracynyc wrote: This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Thanks so much for sharing. The Washinton Post report, citing researchers, highlighted that the harness and contraption seen on this whale might have been used to fit spy equipment like cameras and weapons.
The famous Russian «spy whale» Hvaldimir is playing with a new friend. 🕊— Reg Saddler (@zaibatsu) September 5, 2019
He is still in Hammerfest, Northern Norway 🇳🇴
Video by Jan-Olaf Johansen via norges_fotografer IG pic.twitter.com/EpglMThN7v
The harness also had the words “Equipment St. Petersburg” on it. Authorities also said that the whale was behaving unlike members of the species. They are usually very shy and roam around in groups, unlike this one. A statement from Norway’s Police Security Service said: "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.” They added, “The whale is not a suspect in our investigation, for now.” Russian authorities have denied any knowledge about the spy whale. The whale has been relocated to a sanctuary in Iceland so that it has a better chance at survival.
Incredible! What a beautiful, beautiful creation.... our animal kingdom is nothing short than incredible! 💕💕💕💕— sandra garayzar (@peregrinamom) April 23, 2021
Using animals to do human's military and espionage work is nothing new. The US had such a program as early as the 1950s. The program apparently recruited dolphins and sea lions to locate sea mines, retrieve objects from the ocean floor, and gather intelligence.