It sounds ridiculous we know, but how many fetch playingwhales do you hear of? This beluga whale took the internet by storm when he was filmed playing fetch with a boat full of South African rugby fans.
The video has been viewed over 19 million times on social media and has also prompted claims that the whale could actually be Hvaldimir a Russian Navy trained spywho escaped from his training facility.
Hvaldimir was initially spotted inNorwayin April last year with a 'property of St Petersburg' harness around his midsection. He is also known to approach boats in a friendly manner and even use tricks in order to win food. It is suspected that Hvaldimir was hand fed and is unable to hunt or feed himself, prompting his charming behaviour. Quad Finn, a researcher of aquatic mammals stated:
Hvaldimir was taken from the ocean and trained by humans to do tricks like fetching objects in exchange for food. That he's malnourished and still dependent on humans for food are likely reasons for what appears to be 'playful' behaviour.
This is not uncommon as both Russia and the USA have military training programs for marine mammals. However, a Russian Military spokesperson denied that Hvaldimir had any connection to marine spy training programmes.
Check out the video above to see Hvaldimir at work!