WATCH: Beluga Whale, Dubbed the ‘Ocean’s Golden Retriever,’ Plays Fetch With a Rugby Ball

by Craig Garrett
Underwater View of Beluga Whales, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada - stock photo

A viral video making the rounds features a beluga whale playing fetch with a rugby ball, just like many dogs love to do. These sailors were fortunate enough to have a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with some belugas near the north pole. The curious creatures weren’t scared of the boat and even came close to interacting with the people on board.

One of the sailors threw a rugby ball into the ocean, and without hesitation, a beluga near the boat retrieved it with its mouth. The whale had the opportunity to swim away with the intriguing toy, but instead, it returned to the boat to give back the rugby ball.

The whale playing fetch almost lost its ball a few times, but each time it was quick enough to catch up to the errant toy. Finally, once he had a good grip on the ball, he dove underwater and exited stage left with his prize.

Due to the clip’s viral breakout on social media giants such as Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter, it is difficult to ascertain who the original owner of the video was. Rebecca Herbert, an environmental journalist, also uploaded the same clip. Many users have viewed it over 1.4 million times and retweeted it almost ten thousand times on Twitter. Watch the clip below, which was shared on our Twitter.

Some viewers claim the beluga whale in the clip was already famous

Russia is often in the news for its unique – and sometimes controversial methods of training animals for military purposes. One such example are spy whales, who serve as a special asset to the Russian navy. The most famous of these whales is Hvaldimir, who was freed from his harness in 2019. Hvaldimir is a popular whale in Norwegian waters, known for his interactions with humans. He is closely monitored by the non-profit Norwegian Orca Survey.

The beluga whale is a species of toothed whale that is closely related to the narwhal. They are called white whales because of their beautiful white skin, and sometimes melon-head whales. The whale is also colloquially known as the “sea canary” because of its high-pitched squeaks, squeals, clucks, and whistles. A Japanese researcher discovered that he could teach a beluga to “talk” by using these sounds to identify three different objects. This offers hope that humans may one day be able to communicate effectively with sea mammals.

Dr. Greg O’Corry-Crowe’s study about Beluga kinship was recently mentioned in an article from Science Focus. “Unlike killer and pilot whales, beluga whales don’t solely or even primarily interact and associate with close kin.” This means they can interact peacefully with other animals, including humans. They’re just as social and playful as Golden Retrievers who live on land.