A beluga whale found off Norway’s coast wearing a special Russian harness was probably trained by the Russian navy, a Norwegian expert says.
Marine biologist Prof Audun Rikardsen said the harness had a GoPro camera holder and a label sourcing it to St Petersburg. A Norwegian fisherman managed to remove it from the whale.
He said a Russian fellow scientist had told him that it was not the sort of kit that Russian scientists would use.
Russia has a naval base in the region.
The tame beluga repeatedly approached Norwegian boats off Ingoya, an Arctic island about 415km from Murmansk, where Russia’s Northern Fleet is based. Belugas are native to Arctic waters.
Norway’s public broadcaster NRK has put out a video showing the beluga’s harness being released.
Prof Rikardsen told the BBC that the harness “was attached really tightly round its head, in front of its pectoral fins and it had clips”. He said there was a GoPro attachment, but no camera.