"You can see how much weight he has lost."
A friendly beluga whale which has been suspected of being a Russian spy is not looking so great right now.
Instead of having the robust shape of a healthy beluga whale, Hvaldimir is looking downright skinny in a recent photo compared to his appearance in earlier images in which he looked far more blubbery.
"Hvaldimir, who has returned to southern Norway, appears to be alarmingly thin," tweeted Emma Luck, a marine science student and whale tracker. "The first photo, taken by Henriette Marie Saga, is recent. The second photo is a from a screenshot of a video I took of him in 2019. You can see how much weight he has lost."
Earlier this summer in May, scientists were concerned that Hvaldimir had lost weight and was not eating enough fish.
Hvaldimir first became famous in 2019 when fishermen in Norway found him wearing a harness with a camera mount and the words "Equipment of St. Petersburg" written on the strap.
The strap was later removed, but it dovetailed with bizarre reports of Russian military training belugas, dolphins and seals for secret missions.
When Hvaldimir first became known to the public, Luck tweeted that the Norwegian Orca Survey was monitoring and feeding him because he was "malnourished," but Hvaldimir "left the area not too long after that and began feeding himself successfully."
While Luck later tweeted that the Norwegian government has been hands off, perhaps another intervention is needed for Hvaldimir, who has led a largely solitary existence far from other beluga whale pods that usually congregate in the Arctic Ocean, north of Norway and around Greenland.
At the end of the day, it's our fault. Hvaldimir never asked to be taken away from his kind, and the burden of blame falls on our shoulders as a species.
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