Locals see progress in effort to save overly friendly whale in Norway – Orange County Register

OneWhale, led by two Orange County residents, is trying to save an overly friendly beluga whale by establishing a sanctuary in a Norwegian fjord and is on the verge of winning a key permit.

The all-white, tame beluga is believed to have been trained by the Russian Navy but has been hanging around the Norwegian coast for almost four years. He was dubbed Hvaldimir by residents of Hammerfest, where he first appeared in 2019 wearing a tight-fitting camera harness labeled “Equipment St. Petersburg,” fueling theories he once used in espionage.

Because he feels comfortable with people, he doesn’t shy away from them, which prepares him for dangerous encounters. It has followed boats everywhere, interacted with hordes of tourists and made a nuisance at some nearby Norwegian salmon farms where it is known for catching fish.

The non-profit organization OneWhale, founded by Regina Crosby, a San Clemente filmmaker, has worked with Hammerfest city officials to turn a local fjord into a whale sanctuary for him and eventually other whales that will be released from captivity. Shortly after the effort began, Crosby brought Rich German, a Laguna Beach environmentalist, on board. German has been a marine mammal conservation advocate for more than a decade and has published a book about his experiences paddling with whales, dolphins and sea turtles off Laguna Beach.

“The City of Hammerfest will give us permission to convert the fjord into a whale sanctuary,” German said, officials told the nonprofit. “We’ve met with city officials and now it’s concluding with a vote.”

In April, OneWhale held a fundraiser and raised about $40,000 for the effort at the Laguna Art Museum and has since raised another $100,000, although most of that went to the whale’s safety. OneWhale has made sure that people in Norway take care of Hvaldimir and try to keep human interactions to a minimum.

About $3 million will be needed to get the whale sanctuary up and running. German said they hope to receive some endowments soon.

“When you’re with him, it’s this incredible dichotomy of feeling love and joy,” said German, who visited the whale in September. “He’s sweet and loving because he craves human interaction, but at the same time it’s incredibly sad because he’s so alone.”

A day after German left Norway, Hvaldimir started back up the coast, visiting salmon farms and following boats. In two incidents, he took a rope and tied it around a boat propeller. In one case, it caused $8,000 in property damage.

Though he’s likely trained for it beforehand, German and Crosby worry about what other shenanigans could put him in grave danger.

“Our team wakes up every day thinking something terrible may have happened,” German said.

The people at OneWhale are now even more concerned that the whale sanctuary will be established quickly after a 1,320-pound walrus named Freya was euthanized by the Norwegian Fisheries Agency over concerns for people’s safety. The government had warned people to stay away and not try to take photos with the friendly animal, but many paid no heed to officials.

“As a tame whale, he doesn’t know how to swim away from large crowds and boats, including tourists and children trying to get in the water with him,” Crosby said of Hvaldimir, adding that she’s seen him stressed and stressed was acting erratically.

“This is a recipe for an accident or an injury to someone,” she said. “He’s sweet and friendly; However, he is also a 1 ton male of mating age who can hold his breath underwater for 20 minutes. Even if he’s playing and happy, he could seriously injure a person in the water.”

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/18/locals-seeing-progress-in-effort-to-save-an-overly-friendly-whale-in-norway/ Locals see progress in effort to save overly friendly whale in Norway – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@thehitc.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button