In a dramatic departure from its usual reliability it appears the media has got the ‘Russian spy whale’ story all wrong. Far from being a secret agent a new report suggests the whale may have actually provided therapy to children.
The, seemingly slandered, white beluga whale was the subject of countless newspaper articles and news packages last week as Western media outlets fell over themselves to engage in their latest round of Russia bashing. any of the breathless reports noted that the whale, who was dubbed “Hvladimir” in Norwegian media, had a very playful disposition and was friendly towards humans. Now a fresh report from Norway’s Fiskeribladet newspaper suggests there’s a good reason for that: the whale was trained to entertain and offer comfort to children suffering from mental health problems.
Morten Vikeby, a former journalist at the newspaper, did a story on whales trained for therapy purposes near Russia’s border with Norway back in 2008. He said he believes the tame whale which appeared off the eastern coast of Norway is called Semion as he recognized it from his visit to the facility. The newspaper published archived video footage from the visit on Tuesdayikeby said the harnesses found on the whale were probably used to tow small boats with children on board. “That’s also the reason the whale is so social,” he said. “He thrives among people.”
Several of the tricks performed by the whale in the video are similar to those performed by “Hvladimir,” where it currently resides in Norway.
The new theory about the whale’s origins was welcomed by Norway’s fisheries inspectorate, which currently has responsibility for the whale. “We had thought along the lines of espionage or war, but now it looks like this is a whale trained to do good,” spokesperson Jørgen Ree Wiig told Fiskeribladet. “That’s fantastic.”