Belugas are also called white whales, and their unusual color makes them one of the most familiar and easily distinguishable of all the whales. Calves are born gray or even brown and only fade to white as they become sexually mature around five years of age.
White whales are smallish, ranging from 13 to 20 feet (4 to 6.1 meters) in length. They have rounded foreheads and no dorsal fin.
Belugas generally live together in small groups known as pods. They are social animals and very vocal communicators that employ a diversified language of clicks, whistles, and clangs. Belugas can also mimic a variety of other sounds.
These whales are common in the Arctic Ocean's coastal waters, though they are found in subarctic waters as well. Arctic belugas migrate southward in large herds when the sea freezes over. Animals trapped by Arctic ice often die, and they are prey for polar bears, killer whales, and for Arctic people. They are hunted by indigenous people of the north, and by commercial fisheries that brought some populations, such as those in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to near collapse. The bottom middle photo above was take while we were in Tadoussac several years back in Quebec.
At the Vancouver Aquarium, we participated in the Beluga Encounter, which allowed us the incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with a full, interactive training session alongside the Aquarium trainers and discovered first-hand the behaviours of the Beluga whales. An incredible experience with all funds going to Beluga Research.
Belugas feed on fish, crustaceans, and worms and are related to the tusked "unicorn" whale known as the narwhal.
In Tadoussac, Quebec, we got
the chance to kayak with a
pod of Belugas at the mouth
of the Saguenay River while
at the Vancouver Aquarium
in BC, we participated in their
Beluga Encounter, with all
proceeds going to fund
research. An incredible