Lost Russian Beluga "Spy Whale" Needs Help

Hvaldi needs our help. He is not safe in his current location and needs protection. 

He is known around the world as the  "Russian Spy Whale," a friendly trained whale. He is a young, male beluga who is presumed to be from Russia.  He made many headlines after he escaped and came to Norway wearing a military harness. He tugged at the local fisherman's buoys until they helped him by taking off the tight harness. Now that he has earned his freedom, he has remained a new resident of Norway.  He is a playful, smart, sweet and gentle whale.   Here is the now-famous video of Hvaldi playing rugby.  And Here is a sweet video of Hvaldi playing with a seagull. 

Unfortunately Hvaldimir's current living conditions are not sustainable. Hvaldimir is technically a "free" whale.  He hunts fish and eats on his own, is no longer dependent on humans, and has done an amazing job surviving, BUT - Hvaldi is not safe.  Unfortunately he is still in serious danger due to his location, he doesn't have any access to a beluga pod.  Even if he did, he doesn't know how to be a wild animal, because he is domesticated and totally imprinted on humans.  He is lonely and has no other whales for company, so he seeks the company of humans which puts him in constant danger of being injured by boat propellers, and was already seriously injured last summer.  He spends his days seeking friends in busy harbors and in commercial fishing operations. This poses not only a danger to Hvaldimir, but also the humans who try to swim and interact with him. Here are the daily dangers he faces:

1.) Boat Propellers: We have documented up to 300 tourists a day flocking to Hvaldimir by tour boat, private boat, and jet ski to get to the whale; dive, snorkel and swim with him. Hvaldimir has been hit by boat propellers in the past and and even after being hit, he has continued to come up to boats within inches of the propellers, even while the propeller is running. Hvaldimir doesn’t understand the danger of boats and humans and avoid them as a wild whale would. In fact, he has been taught to do the opposite. Last summer, Hvaldimir was critically injured, sliced open by something sharp, possibly by a boat or fishing equipment.

2.) Commercial fishing activity. There is heavy fishing practiced in these fjords, with large commercial nets.  The nets go down and are left unattended for the day.  Hvaldimir could get caught in the fishing nets, and because he can only hold his breath for about 20 minutes, he will drown.  

3.) Salmon farms.  Norway’s largest export is salmon, and the fjords are full of high-tech farms, each holding millions of salmon. These farms are attractive to Hvaldimir and he likes to frequent them for both interaction with the workers. The salmon farms are reporting Hvaldimir to be a problem; he is preventing work from being done and getting in the way of boats and machinery.  It is possible that Hvaldimir could be caught in a boat prop or harmed in other ways by being near a fish farm.

OneWhale has been working in Norway to find a solution.  As advocates for Hvaldimir, we are enlisting experts for Hvaldimir's cause, including the help of Ric O'Barry, Founder, Director of DolphinProject.com. Ric is internationally known for his 30 years of expertise in protecting and relocating formerly captive whales and dolphins. Ric and his team created the first ever dolphin sanctuary in Bali, and have consulted with our team.  OneWhale is proposing the Norwegian Marine Sanctuary, and hopes that Hvaldimir can remain safely in Norway's waters.  The Norwegian Marine Sanctuary will be a massive free range space (Approx. 1.6 miles/ 2 km long x 1 mile/1.6 km wide). A truly wild habitat for Hvaldimir, and hopefully other marine animals in need including other retired belugas.  Our ultimate goal is that Hvaldimir, with time and space, can unlearn his imprinting on humans, and possibly be introduced to belugas the wild. But the first step is to take him out of harms way. 

As of now, more than one community in Norway is hoping to offering him a fjord for a sanctuary.  However, these communities do not have the fund, and Norway's federal government has not stepped in to provide funding for Hvaldimir's protection.  The biggest thing standing in between Hvaldimir and the creation of new home at the Norwegian Marine Sanctuary is funding.  This is how YOU can make a difference! Every donation, even the smallest amounts, help get Hvaldimir closer to safety.

Someone might ask "Can't SeaWorld to provide money for this?" The answer is "No. Because OneWhale is Anti-Captivity and  won't give a green-washing marketing opportunity to any captivity industry corporations like SeaWorld, MarineLand, Mystic Aquarium or others who profit on the capture and abuse of whales."  This is why we are coming to a trusted platform like GoFundMe to crowd fund for Hvaldimir.  This effort is 100% funded by caring individuals.   OneWhale will not NOT financially align with any individuals, groups or corporations who support or promote whales in captivity.  

The time is now.  We don't want to wait until something awful happens to this sweet animal. Hvaldimir needs your voice, and for people to share this page and spread the word and his story and our goal for the Norwegian Marine Sanctuary... and of course, thank you for your donation. We look forward to making the Norwegian Marine Sanctuary happen soon, with Hvaldimir as its first guest.   #ProtectHvaldimir


  • Angela Reynolds 
    • $10 
    • 5 d
  • sally-anne Samuels 
    • $8 
    • 6 d
  • Ellen Jameson 
    • $20 
    • 7 d
  • diane coombs 
    • $20 
    • 14 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 20 d
See all

Fundraising team: OneWhale Team (3)

Regina Crosby 
Krista Jon Levandofsky 
Team member
Rich German 
Team member
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