Saving Hvaldi


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 has made many headlines as Now resident of Norway, he loves interacting with humans.  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.  He is in danger due to his location, and we have outlined all of the threats he faces in the story below.

We are grass-roots collective of individuals from the US and Norway working together to save Hvaldi and protect him from harm.  We are working to shine a light on his situation and enlist the help of environmental groups in both Norway and the US, as well as the Norwegian government.   We must emphasize that the Advocates for Hvaldi are not decision makers, but are putting his case in front of qualified decision makers: Beluga whale experts and ocean conservationists,  who are not aligned with the captive-whale industry.  For transparency, it is important to not that we are NOT working with nor funded by any groups or corporations who promote whales in captivity. We do not support whales or dolphin in captivity for entertainment or any type of ticket sales.

We are in need of funding to protect him.   All whale experts agree that belugas need a pod not only for social reasons, but it is their best chance at survival.   Hvaldi needs to be moved to a safer part of the ocean where other belugas live, and he can hopefully be part of a pod. The team of experts involved will need to travel to northern Norway to plan the move.  There are flights, lodging and transportation both on land and sea that are needed. The effort it will take to move Hvaldi, safely and gently, requires a lot of advance planning.  The volunteer team is currently formulating a detailed plan which will include boats, trucks, a cargo plane, and cranes.  Also, this move will require a custom built stretcher/carrier and a water filled container built to hold Hvaldi.  We are working to get many of these things donated, but many expenses are not covered.  We are asking for donations - in any size - that will help to cover the costs and make a plan to protect Hvaldimir. It all adds up. THANK YOU! 

Why does Hvaldi need saving? We'll explain.

THE BAD NEWS
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.  As fun as it is to watch these cute videos of him, the local fishermen know that Hvaldi is serious danger due to his location.   Here are the most urgent problems:

1.) Commercial fishing activity. There is heavy fishing practiced in these fjords, with large commercial nets.  Cod season is just beginning. 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.   Here is a story about the amount of whales that die each year in fishing nets. 

2.) Fish 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 and an easy dinner. 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. Warning, the photos are graphic:  Here is just one of many incidents of whales being killed by boat propellers. 

3.) Local Killer Whales.  Because Hvaldi is alone and not with a pod as he should be, he is at risk of being eaten by local incoming Orcas.  Beluga whales travel with pod for a social family life, but also for protection, and there are no other belugas around for 500 km.  Because he is alone, he is easy prey for a pod of hungry Killer Whales.   Here is an article about Orcas eating belugas. 
He is displaced and alone, due to no fault of his own, and the fjords are not his natural home.  He is lonely and has no other whales for company, however being lonely is not the biggest issue.  Hvaldi does not belong in the  Norwegian fjords because they pose very serious threats to him.  How can we fix this?

THE GOOD NEWS
As advocates for Hvaldi, we realized this whale would never have the chance at survival, let alone a normal life, unless he is given the chance to be with a pod.  There are folks that claim no pod will accept him, but those same folks would claim a captive beluga can never learn to eat on their own.  As Hvaldi has proven - that is not true!  There are many many cases of orphaned or displaced dolphins and whales who join pods - even pods other species- to become a family.  He deserves a chance.  We have enlisted the help of an internationally-known expert environmentalist with 30 years of experience in relocating whales and dolphins.  We have also been in an ongoing conversation with government officials in getting both their permission and support to move him. This is a very big and positive step!  It is not in the interest of Norway to have Hvaldimir die in a fishing net or at a salmon farm, and it is in their interest to protect him and their fishing industry. So we are grateful to the government Norway and their willingness to help Hvaldi. 

WHEN:
We don't want to wait until something awful happens.  With your help, our goal is to move Hvaldi this winter.


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We don't want to wait until something awful happens.  With your help, our goal is to move Hvaldi this winter.

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Fundraising team: Advocates for Hvaldimir (2)

Advocates for Hvaldi 
Organizer
Krista Jon Levandofsky 
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