Could a friendly beluga whale be a spy?

A professor in Norway said a beluga whale found in the Arctic Ocean near Norway's northernmost point could be a Russian spy. Local residents report that the beluga was very tame and enjoyed being stroked. The professor said the whale had a harness and mount for a spy camera. He said: "It is most likely that the Russian Navy…was involved." However, images show there is "Equipment of St. Petersburg" written on the harness in English. A local said: "It could have escaped from a Russian military facility or…swum from St. Petersburg, Florida, because of the English-language text."

There is speculation online about the whale. Journalists say it could have come from a whale-training facility in St. Petersburg, Florida. The US uses dolphins to help navy divers. A Russian naval analyst downplayed links the beluga might have with the Russian military. He said: "Even if there are military programs for using marine animals for navy purposes, they are unlikely to be belugas." A Russian military official told the BBC: "If we were using this animal for spying, do you really think we'd attach a mobile phone number with the message 'please call this number?'"