Scientists preparing to relocate beluga whales to protected habitats and zoos enlisted the help of Russian diver Natalia Avseenko, who is uniquely able to help these whales get accustomed to human company. She has trained to hold her breath for up to 10 minutes, and can swim in the sub-zero waters of the Arctic where these whales make their homes.
Apparently the beluga whales don't bond easily with people in wetsuits, so scientists asked Avseenko to strip down to swim with the whales and get them used to human company. The results are some astonishing pictures.
Though this looks like a perfect picture of human-whale bonding, the point of the exercise is to get the whales used to the humans who will eventually put them into captivity.
via Daily Mirror