A 23-year old Beluga whale at the Kamogawa Sea World aquarium in Japan has been trained to emit different noises for different items. As of now, the whale – whose name is Nack – emits a short, high-pitched sound to identify diving fins, a long and even more high-pitched sound for diving goggles, and a short, lower sound for bucket. When the sounds are recorded and played back to Nack, he is able to identify the corresponding object.

whale1 Beluga whale trained to link sounds to items

Takashi Murayama, a professor at Tokai University, has been training Nack for the last five years. He is now trying to teach Nack to emit different noises for different people, and he also wishes Nack to be able to express opinions, e.g. use sounds to tell his trainer about his likes and dislikes, or if something is boring or painful.