A beluga whale found off Norway’s coast was probably trained by the Russian navy, according to a Norwegian expert.
Norwegian marine biologist Prof Audun Rikardsen said the whale contained a Russian harness with a GoPro camera holder and a label sourcing it to St Petersburg.
The harness was removed from the whale by a Norwegian fisherman.
He said a fellow Russian scientist had told him that it was not the sort of kit that Russian scientists would use.
Russia has a naval base in the region.
The tame beluga repeatedly approached Norwegian boats off Ingoya, an Arctic island about 415km (258 miles) from Murmansk, where Russia’s Northern Fleet is based. Belugas are native to Arctic waters.
Norway’s public broadcaster NRK has put out a video showing the beluga’s harness being released.
Prof Rikardsen told the BBC that the harness “was attached really tightly round its head, in front of its pectoral fins and it had clips”. He said there was a GoPro attachment, but no camera.
“A Russian colleague said they don’t do such experiments, but she knows the navy has caught belugas for some years and trained them – most likely it’s related to that,” he said.