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.
- 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 11-15 feet in length and weigh up to a ton. To preserve body heat in chilly arctic waters, the beluga's blubber can be up to 5 inches thick.
- 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.
- 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