Nack, a 23-year-old beluga whale at the Kamogawa Sea World aquarium in Chiba Prefecture, has been taught to make different noises for a bucket, diving goggles and a pair of diving fins, said Takashi Murayama, a professor at Tokai University who has been training the creature for the last five years.
"Beluga whales are very intelligent, friendly and they enjoy being trained in this way," he said.
"Right now Nack only knows three words, but we are working on the whale recognising different people and giving them a sound as well.
"After that, we want to teach it to express likes and dislikes, something that is interesting instead of boring, and be able to say if something is painful," he said.
Nack gives off short, high-pitched sounds to identify the diving fins, a long, higher-pitched note for the goggles and a short, lower tone for the bucket.
This is the first breakthrough for human-cetacean communication on modern record, outside of the movie Day of the Dolphin, where dolphins also learn how to blow up a ship.
The picture above is another Beluga whale in Japan, who has recently learned how to blow bubbles, can raspberries be far behind?