Incredible footage has emerged of a beluga whale playing rugby with the crew of a South African marine research vessel in the Arctic.
Following South Africa’s Rugby World Cup win, earlier this month, the magical encounter was the perfect way for the crew to celebrate. And clearly, they are big rugby fans, having an official 2019 Rugby World Cup ball with them.
It’s difficult to determine the original source of the video. It’s been uploaded to various social media channels, with many outlets pointing to Facebook user Alon Kown as the original uploader of the footage. However, in the video description, Kown suggests otherwise and points to the South Pole as the location of the encounter.
Beluga whales are natives of the Arctic and sub-Artic, so the footage must have been taken in the Northern Hemisphere. Additionally, the NZ Herald reports that the marine research vessel in the video is the Dinah Explorer and is currently in Norwegian waters.
I’ve been unable to confirm this since a Google search for ‘Dinah Explorer’ reveals little information. However, this would correlate with media reports earlier this year of a beluga whale spotted off the coast of Norway with a harness around its body.
At time, some suggested that the whale could have been trained for Russian intelligence acquisition as a “spy whale”. Others hypothesised that it could have been a “therapy whale” from a diving centre in northern Russia.
Either way, the beluga whale is now free and, since the removal of its harness, it has been spotted taking food from people and performing tricks for passing boats. It’s not known for sure if the beluga in the rugby video is the same whale linked to Russia, but it would certainly make sense.
If you have got any information pointing to the original source of the video, please us know in the comments below or through our contact page.