By Melissa Locker
November 8, 2019

In an unlikely turn of events, both dogs and rugby players are facing some stiff competition from a marine animal. A friendly beluga whale was filmed playing “fetch” with a rugby ball and it’s pretty cute.

In a video posted by Alan Kowen on Facebook on Wednesday, a man spots the whale swimming alongside their boat and decides to play a little he game. As he happens to be carrying a 2019 Rugby World Cup ball with him, he chucks into the water near the whale and, to his seeming surprise, the whale goes to grab it and then brings it back to the humans in the boat. Apparently these playful antics are typical for the sea mammals. Belugas are “extremely sociable mammals”, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

Beluga Whale celebrating the Springboks victory somewhere close to the South Pole,” Kowen wrote in the caption to the Facebook post. “Spot the Cape Town build Gemini Craft and the South African accents.” It’s unclear if Kowen was the one who actually captured the footage, though, as belugas are far more common in the North than the South, although they are known to travel South in winter and the climate crisis is altering traditional weather and migration patterns.

Wherever in the world the footage was captured the amazing video of the playful beluga has gone viral as rugby fans, whale lovers, and animal enthusiasts all cheer on the funny little whale. Even the Rugby World Cup tweeted out their praise for the new star.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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