A marine reserve for Hvaldimir, the beluga “spy” of the Russians – time.news

from Paolo Virtuani

The foundation of a British billionaire gets the go-ahead from the Oslo government for a protected area near the North Cape. Thus the cetacean will no longer disturb the fishermen and salmon farms

When he appeared in 2019 in northern Norway with a band tied around his neck with the inscription St.Petersburg, the military immediately thought of a Russian spy program, as if it had come out of a spy story by John le Carr or Tom Clancy. Maybe yes, maybe not, also because in Soviet times a program was established to train dolphins and seals to search for mines. Certainly the beluga Hvaldimir, as it was later nicknamed, was trained and capable of interacting with men, almost unable to obtain food on its own. Therefore it is impossible to release into cold arctic waters.

Spy cetacean

Hvaldimir was therefore left wandering around the fjords, every now and then the fishermen threw him some fish which he gladly swallowed. Except that after a while he began to be a not too well-liked presence for salmon farmers: he wandered around the containment nets hunting for fish attracted by the feed given to the salmon and disturbing the fishing.

The foundation

At this point Adam Thorpe enters the field. The British billionaire, who has built a fortune in real estate, takes Hvaldimir’s fate to heart and sets up a foundation, OneWhale, to save a single cetacean: the beluga spies despite him. Erroneously identified with the white whale from Moby Dick, belugas are white cetaceans related to dolphins, of the same family as the narwhals that swim in arctic waters. OneWhale has obtained permission from the Norwegian government that, if it is able to raise 250,000 pounds (about 285,000 euros), it will be allowed to build a marine reserve not far from the North Cape for Hvaldimir, and thus save it from the risk of being run over by a fishing boat or ferry and not disturbing the fishermen. Other trained cetaceans will also enter the reserve and are no longer able to get food on their own.


The hope that, once they get used to hunting on their own, they will be able to be released into the open sea. The story of Hvaldimir and his benefactor Thorpe has also interested Netflix, which has made contact to make a series.

November 7, 2022 (change November 7, 2022 | 08:02)


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick