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photos of  beluga whales

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mr53. Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas), curious whale underwater. Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Canadian Arctic.
photos of wild beluga whales Canadian arctic
mr31. Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) feeding in mouth of Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Canadian Arctic.
belugas feeding at surface, photography available for licensing
mr33. Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) and eco-tourists in whale-watching boat. Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Canadian Arctic.
tourists whale watching beluga whales of Churchill Manitoba Hudson Bay
mr44. Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) mother and newborn calf underwater. Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Canadian Arctic.
underwater picture of mother and calf Beluga Whale

more photos


   vitals                                                              bio
Beluga Whale
scientific name Delphinapterus leucas
range northern polar waters- Arctic Ocean
Churchhill, Hudson Bay, Baffin Island, Gulf of St. Lawrence- all in Canada
habitat coastal, open ocean, rivers
size to 16 feet (5m), 1.5 tons
diet squid, fish, benthic invertebrates
trivia newborn calves brown or gray; bulbous head's "melon" contains sophisticated "sonar" echolocation system; unfused neck vertebrae allow it to turn and nod its head
Big attractions at marine parks across North America, the beluga’s pearly white body hints at its true home amidst the frigid waters of the ice-choked Arctic. Small by whale standards- adult males measure up to 16 feet and weigh in at 1.5 tons, with the females slightly smaller- the beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, is very gregarious, usually traveling with its brethren in groups of up to twenty. During summer months, hundreds come together around river mouths to molt and nurse their young. One of the most vocal of the toothed whales, belugas are nicknamed "sea canaries" for their vast vocal vocabulary of chirps, clicks, and whistles- a cheerful language of song floating beneath the ice floes.
     Some scientists think the beluga may possess the most complex and versatile sonar system of any cetacean, used not only to locate food and fellow whales in the dark polar waters, but also for navigation through a three dimensional world of drifting icebergs and ever-changing channels. This animal is called belukha by the Inuit tribes of Alaska, from the Russian meaning "white." Its main natural predator is the polar bear. Though not considered an endangered species, certain local stocks are under pressure from human disturbances such as indigenous hunting and pollution. An isolated population of some 300-500 belugas in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence have such high concentrations of chemical contaminants in their tissues that they are treated as toxic waste when they die.



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