The whale that plays fetch is in danger, but there's a team working hard to protect him
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.


Previously, it had been seen wearing a GoPro harness that read "Equipment St. Petersburg" which has since been removed.

The whale also has a team working to protect him.

The Advocates for Hvaldimir, with members from Norway and the United States, have been working to relocate him to another region of the ocean where he can, hopefully, become part of a pod.

RELATED: Amazing footage shows a beluga whale playing 'fetch' with marine researchers

Belugas generally live in pods of two to up to a hundred whales. Pods help protect the whales from predators and improve their hunting effectiveness. They also provide a sense of belonging for the highly sociable mammals.

"As advocates for Hvaldi, we realized this whale would never have the chance at survival, let alone a normal life, unless he is given the chance to be with a pod," Regina Crosby, co-founder of Advocates for Hvaldimir, who's been working on a documentary about the whale, said according to Good News Network.

"There are folks that claim no pod will accept him, but those same folks would claim a captive beluga can never learn to eat on their own. As Hvaldi has proven—that is not true!" she added.

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"There are many many cases of orphaned or displaced dolphins and whales who join pods—even pods other species—to become a family. He deserves a chance," she continued.

The advocates want to relocate Hvaldi as soon as possible out of concern for his safety.

There is heavy fishing in the fjords where he currently resides and cod season is just beginning. Belugas can easily get caught and drown in the fishing nets because they must surface every twenty minutes for air.

"The 'good news' for now is that we have created a GoFundMe page with specific details about his situation," Crosby told Good News Network.

"It is really important to note that we are NOT working with ANY organizations who are involved in keeping whales or dolphins in captivity, or using them for entertainment; and we are not receiving funding from those companies," the group continued.

As of publication, the GoFundMe campaign has already raised just under half of its $10,000 goal.


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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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