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Beluga Cam

Belugas, also known as white whales, are the smallest species of whales. These whales range only from 13 feet to 20 feet. Belugas are easily distinguishable by their all white color, rounded foreheads, and lack of dorsal fin. These whales are most closely related to the narwhals or “unicorn” whales.

Belugas reside near coastal regions of the Arctic Ocean and though they are coated in five inches of thick blubber, they still head south during the predominantly colder months. Sometimes they chase smelt into rivers. Viewers of the beluga cam will notice that belugas are very social mammals. They usually reside with other belugas in groups called pods. Belugas communicate with each other through a series of clicks, clangs, and whistles. As you may hear on the live beluga cam, these whales have also learned how to mimic other sounds in order to communicate to one another.

Their diets include smaller fish, crustaceans, and worms. Belugas hunt for food in water columns and seafloors and have been known to dive down into the depths of up to 2,000 feet in order to find food. Once on the seafloor, belugas will suck in any unsuspecting prey into its mouth. Unlike other whales, belugas have necks that are flexible that allow them to have a wide range of movement and effectively making foraging the ocean floor for food that much easier.

Calves

Baby belugas, or calves, are often brown or dark gray upon birth and only after they have reached sexual maturity (around 5 years old) do they turn white. Calves often stay and nurse with their mother for up to a year until they are able to digest smaller foods such as shrimp or small fish. During this time, it is common that mothers with calves separate from their pods that house other male belugas. A beluga’s lifespan ranges from 25 to 30 years.

Threats to Belugas

A beluga’s main predator is man. Man has hunted belugas for centuries, especially indigenous peoples. Due to their thick blubber, their skin has provided warmth to humans for centuries both as sustenance and as shelter. During the 1800s, commercial hunting became a worldwide phenomenon and belugas were hunted extensively.

Another threat to these whales is environmental hazards due to industrial runoff and oil exploration. Toxins that end up in the ocean are first ingested by smaller species that belugas eventually end up consuming. These toxins become more concentrated as they make their way up the food chain. When belugas ingest toxins such a lead or mercury, their immune system becomes vulnerable and makes them susceptible to diseases and infections.

Besides man, killer whales and polar bears also hunt belugas, especially small calves that are vulnerable in the vast ocean.

  • grant: $1,600,000 - Polar Bears International

    For the Siku Cam Project as part of the My Planet, My Part Campaign and Tundra Connections program, and for general operating support. Grants between 2011-2012.

  • topic: whales

  • location: churchill

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about beluga whales

Beluga Whale boat cam logo

Every year after the ice breaks up on Hudson Bay, thousands of beluga whales migrate to the warmer waters of the Churchill River. We affixed two live ocean cameras to a boat so now you can watch the belugas feed, swim, and nurse their calves a few hours Monday - Friday. Times depend on weather and tides.

The live Beluga Whale cams are made possible with the help of Polar Bears International, Frontiers North Adventures, Parks Canada, Sea North Tours, and the dedication of your trusty captain Hayley.

about

location: Churchill River & Hudson Bay

best hours: 2 hours before and after high tide

time zone: Central Daylight Time

links: Sea North Tours
Frontiers North
The Port of Churchill
Parks Canada - English / French

grants

NGO: Polar Bears International

grant: $1,600,000

location: Manitoba

mission: For the Siku Cam Project as part of the My Planet, My Part Campaign and Tundra Connections program, and for general operating support. Grants between 2011-2012.

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Beluga Cam

Belugas, also known as white whales, are the smallest species of whales. These whales range only from 13 feet to 20 feet. Belugas are easily distinguishable by their all white color, rounded foreheads, and lack of dorsal fin. These whales are most closely related to the narwhals or “unicorn” whales.

Belugas reside near coastal regions of the Arctic Ocean and though they are coated in five inches of thick blubber, they still head south during the predominantly colder months. Sometimes they chase smelt into rivers. Viewers of the beluga cam will notice that belugas are very social mammals. They usually reside with other belugas in groups called pods. Belugas communicate with each other through a series of clicks, clangs, and whistles. As you may hear on the live beluga cam, these whales have also learned how to mimic other sounds in order to communicate to one another.

Their diets include smaller fish, crustaceans, and worms. Belugas hunt for food in water columns and seafloors and have been known to dive down into the depths of up to 2,000 feet in order to find food. Once on the seafloor, belugas will suck in any unsuspecting prey into its mouth. Unlike other whales, belugas have necks that are flexible that allow them to have a wide range of movement and effectively making foraging the ocean floor for food that much easier.

Calves

Baby belugas, or calves, are often brown or dark gray upon birth and only after they have reached sexual maturity (around 5 years old) do they turn white. Calves often stay and nurse with their mother for up to a year until they are able to digest smaller foods such as shrimp or small fish. During this time, it is common that mothers with calves separate from their pods that house other male belugas. A beluga’s lifespan ranges from 25 to 30 years.

Threats to Belugas

A beluga’s main predator is man. Man has hunted belugas for centuries, especially indigenous peoples. Due to their thick blubber, their skin has provided warmth to humans for centuries both as sustenance and as shelter. During the 1800s, commercial hunting became a worldwide phenomenon and belugas were hunted extensively.

Another threat to these whales is environmental hazards due to industrial runoff and oil exploration. Toxins that end up in the ocean are first ingested by smaller species that belugas eventually end up consuming. These toxins become more concentrated as they make their way up the food chain. When belugas ingest toxins such a lead or mercury, their immune system becomes vulnerable and makes them susceptible to diseases and infections.

Besides man, killer whales and polar bears also hunt belugas, especially small calves that are vulnerable in the vast ocean.