Beluga Whale

Page - January 9, 2009

Estimated Population: 62,000-85,000 worldwide, Cook Inlet population considered depleted


Ways to identify this species:
toothed whale, small head, adults have white skin, babies appear gray

Biology

Migratory, beluga whales inhabit the Arctic and sub-arctic regions of Russia, Greenland, and North America and travel to warmer waters for spring. Populations in Cook Inlet, Alaska do not migrate.

Adult males range from 3-4m in length and weigh between 450-900kg.

The beluga's dorsal fin is only a bump; a larger fin would get in the way as the whale breaks through the ice to breathe.

Beluga whales produce a variety of sounds including whistles, squeals, moos, chirps, and clicks. They are very social animals who hunt, migrate and live in pods numbering into the hundreds.

 

Threats

Because belugas prefer to live in Coastal Waters, they are threatened by human pollution and the risk of entanglement in fishing nets.

This species was hunted during the 18th and 19th century.

As for all other whales they are now threatened by climate change.

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