A professor of animal behaviour has said that the beluga whale spotted off the coast of Norway was a “Russian escapee whale” looking for food.
The whale, which was wearing a harness, was spotted by fishermen off the coast of the Northern village of Inga last week.
Marine scientists have suggested that the whale could have been trained and used by the Russian navy.
Professor Michael Noonan told talkRADIO’s James Whale that the whale was most likely “searching for a human to provide food”.
“The assumption is that it is a Russian escapee whale but it is impossible to know how long it has been free,” he said. “I did see that the harness was on there pretty tight.”
At the beginning of April, Russian officials said they would work towards freeing all orca and beluga whales from a notorious facility in the east of the country, after a visit by US-based marine mammal advocates.
Neartly 100 whales were discovered last year kept in small pens, and were believed to be being kept for sale to aquarium.
Professor Noonan added that whales and dolphins had previously been used “by the military”.
“Whales and dolphins have been used by the military recovering mines or torpedoes that have been lost,” he said.
“They have also been used to maybe recover a diver. They have also been weaponised.”
He added: “Once a whale is in captivity and trained, then the question is whether it can survive on its own.
“Mostly once dependent on humans then it is hard for the animals to readapt.”