It is good to see Hvaldimir once again. Frankly, I’m surprised he is still alive. He is not begging for food. He is begging for attention. Just wanting to connect with someone. Just wanting to be accepted, and loved.
He is not much different than when Helene and I first saw him in the Arctic Circle in 2020, except for the fact that he has lost considerable weight. He looks emaciated. His so-called life is still a humanized mess. And, I fear he is doomed. So there it is, I’ve said it. It’s heartbreaking to write these words. But that’s how it is. The naked truth. Unplugged.
A child can only run around in traffic for so long before the law of averages kicks in, and the child is finally hit by a car, truck, motorcycle, whatever, and killed. It almost seems like this is what the Norwegian government is waiting for.
I was hoping we could help him somehow. But, as I’ve learned from years of experience on similar projects: if one does not have the full cooperation of the national government, things will not end well. Remember: Freya the walrus was killed just because someone in the government decided it should be done.
What is missing in Norway’s government is compassion, common sense, and respect for other forms of non-human intelligence.
Hvaldimir is a stranger in a strange land here in Norway. A victim of circumstance, where they either do nothing, or shoot the victim.
On a brighter note; the two One Whale team members we have been spending time with here are highly dedicated and extremely hard-working. Dr. Ingrid Visser from New Zealand and Norwegian biologist Sebastian Strand are committed to keeping Hvaldimir as safe as they can, considering the fact they have no authority to keep people from riding on Hvaldimir’s back. (Members of the public have been observed fondling him, scratching him with oars, and sticking objects into his mouth.)
Hvaldimir is not exempt from the fact that he has chosen the largest whaling nation on earth for his refuge.
Saving Hvaldimir can be done, but it requires cooperation from the Norwegian government, and the Royal Family. The Royals don’t get involved in running the country, but they have connections. They have power and influence. Especially Prince Haakon. He is a water guy, a diver, boater, and lover of the sea. We would love to introduce the Prince to Hvaldimir. See them look each other in the eyes. If that happened, the Prince would be just like everyone else, completely enamored with this wonderful being, and Hvaldimir would have the Royal Family’s full support.
Until the Prince or the government actually DO SOMETHING to help this poor beluga whale, he is going to continue running around in traffic until he either runs out of fuel or gets into a fatal accident.
“The trouble is you think you have time.” ~ Buddha
Note: We are independent monitors, and are not affiliated with OneWhale or any other NGO on the ground here.
Featured image: Hvaldimir. Credit: Ric O’Barry