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Beluga Whale - Delphinapterus leucas - aka White Whale

The Beluga Whale is one of only two species of whale in the Monodontida Family. The other species in this family is the Narwhal, which like the Mystical Unicorn possess a long tightly spiraling single tusk from its head. This tusk is said to possess magical properties.

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Picture of a Beluga Whale
Beluga Whale

Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) also called the White Whale are one of the smaller species of whale. Males average about 3000 pounds compared to that of the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus), which has been, recorded over 400,000 pounds. Like the common slang name “White Whale” suggests, the Beluga Whale’s general color is white or cream colored. Baby Beluga Whales are born black or dark gray, and then become mottled in their adolescence, evolving into their adult white creamy color as they mature. Contrary to common belief, Beluga Caviar does not come from the Beluga Whale. Instead, this highly sought after delicacy comes from the huge Great White Sturgeon, which is classified as a fish and not a marine mammal like whales.

Although David and I have never worked with these fantastic marine mammals, we both are fascinated by them and wanted to write a short little article introducing our viewers to their wonders. From all of my readings and studies on the fascinating Cetacea Order, which include all of the Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, the Beluga Whale and the Narwhal are two of my favorite. I am not sure if it has something to do with their small size or group dynamics, but these two whale species are so playful and personable. In fact, the Beluga Whale has some of the most amazing of all of the Whale Vocalizations of the various whale species. The Beluga has earned the name Sea Canary as a result of the wide range of vocalizations or “whale sounds” this species is capable of. One particular cool thing about Beluga Whale Vocalizations is that some of them can actually be heard above water. This is an incredibly rare characteristic amongst the whales. While all whales produce numerous beautiful underwater vocalizations, only the Beluga’s can be heard above the surface.

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Other then man, the primary predator of the Beluga Whale is the Polar Bear. Polar Bears often kill ice-trapped whales as they rise to breath in small cracks in the ice or through seal holes. It is a brutal death as the whales are clawed and bitten by the bears with each breath they take.

Like the Pilot Whale (Globicephala siebodii), the Beluga Whale travels in large schools. Up to 10,000 individual whales have been reported in one school. This particular sitting is thought to be the result of a mass migration as a typical Beluga Whale social structure consists of on average 10 to 15 individuals led by a large male. It is estimated that the total worldwide population of Beluga Whales is around 70,000 animals with the majority living in North American waters.

Anyhow, David and I hope you found this bit of Beluga Whale information interesting. We have created this web site to create awareness and an interest in our viewers on the remarkable world around us, and its need to be protected. Please take the time to visit the Sanctuary’s “EDUCATIONAL CENTER”, “PICTURE GALLERY” and “FORUM”, and of course our WORLD RENOWED ANIMAL AND HABITAT CAMS”. Get to know each of the Sanctuary’s resident, GOLDEN TIGERS, BENGAL TIGERS, WHITE TIGERS, SIBERIAN TIGERS, RUFFED LEMURS, RING TAILED LEMURS, and BROWN LEMURS, and do not forget to check out the SANCTUARY’S brand new LEOPARD CAM, featuring Sampson our adult African Spotted Leopard.

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