When a beluga whale fitted with a harness appeared off the coast of Norway a few weeks ago, speculation was that he was trained by the Russian navy and somehow escaped.
Since that time, he’s become a fixture around the town of Hammerfest located in the hamlet of Tufjord near Norway’s northernmost point. The white wahale is quite friendly with residents, evidence he was trained by people at some time. He is so comfortable around people that resident Linn Saether said that “when you call it, it comes to you.”
The beluga lets people pet him and allowed scientists to remove the tight harness, which they discovered had a mount for a camera.
The beluga also showed just how friendly he is by retrieving a young woman’s phone after she accidentally dropped it into the ocean. That video is now going viral.
Ina Maniska was down at the docks with her friends to visit the whale and the beluga came up to greet them. While peering over the dock, Maniska’s phone accidentally fell out of her pocket and into the water. She and her friends thought she had lost it, but then the beluga dived into the dark waters.
When he resurfaced, he was holding the phone gently in his mouth. Maniska was shocked and delighted, writing on Instagram, “when animals are kinder than humans.”
Below is that amazing video clip of the whale recovering her phone.
Given how tame the whale is, it’s unclear if he can survive by himself in the wild, so officials are keeping a close eye on him. They are considering relocating him to a sanctuary in Iceland, according to the Washington Post, which may be in his best interests for his health and safety.