Beluga Whales

By: Daelyn Sanders

Beluga whales, also known as the white whale, are nearly threatened for extinction. The whales are going in extinction for many reasons. Some of them are more dangerous than others, but all attracting these whales into endangerment. To save these Belugas developments like World Wild Fund, WWF, are trying new things to get the whales nurtured back into health. These white whales are still alive, but if people start helping out, these whales could be gone.

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The dangers to the Beluga Whales

The whales are facing this because of things humans have done. First, as WWF states, “Thousands of years of evolution have prepared Arctic species like the beluga for life on and around the sea ice. Because of climate change, that ice cover has been changing rapidly, in both extent and thickness, and shrinking far too quickly for these species to adapt. A beluga’s entire life is connected to sea ice, both as a place to feed and a place to take refuge. Slow swimming beluga whales rely on sea ice as a place to hide from predators like orcas,”(Beluga-World Wildlife.org). This shows that the Beluga whales aren’t adapting to the shift in the climate fast enough. Another way that the whales are going extinct is because of boat noises. The noises that the boats make disturbs the whales main sense: hearing. This causes the whales to not be able to hear predators sneaking up on them. Lastly, oil and cargo ships are coming more and more into where the whales habitats. Beluga whales are most affected by this because they rely on hearing. Oil ships also bring a higher chance of making an oil spill. People hope that in the future, these whales will still live, with the help from them.

How people are helping

To save these whales people are doing a lot. Although there isn’t a specific amount, researchers estimate that the population of the Beluga whale is in the hundreds of thousands. Some conservation efforts are: improve the knowledge of the species, stop direct losses to the population, and protect their habitats. With help these whales could go back up in their population.
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Fun Facts

Beluga whales have an interesting life. The Belugas diet is filled with fish, squid, crustaceans, and worms. According to Seaworld, the whales in captivity are being fed 2.5% to 3% of their own body weight each day (40-60 lb). These whales range from 13-20 feet long and weigh 2000-3000 pounds.When born, Beluga whales are dark grey or a brown-grey, but when they’ve reached adulthood they are pure white. The melon (on top of the head), as Seaworld explains, is most likely used to facilitate sound production, it changes shape when the whale is producing sounds. When blowing air around its sinuses, the Beluga whale can change the size of the melon. Beluga whales are commonly found in the Arctic Ocean’s coastal waters. Unlike other creatures, the Beluga whales can move their heads up, down, and side to side. This is because their cervical vertebrae is not fused. The average lifespan for Belugas are 20-50 years. These white whales of the ocean are becoming extinct. The life around them can be saved though. Groups are trying to save them for many reasons.

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