The Beluga Whale Essay

1611 words - 7 pages

There are about 16,118 endangered species worldwide that are listed in the IUCN Red List ("About Species"). These animals are most likely listed in this red list because of human cause. The things that humans do that seem so harmless could actually be harmful to many animals that live in the sea and everywhere else. Out of the 16,118 endangered species that are listed, there are a couple thousand beluga whales that are also in danger of becoming extinct soon if we don't do anything about it. The beluga whale is considered to be a near threatened species due to pollution, over hunting, habitat loss, and climate change: however the government and private organizations are striving to save their population.
Beluga whales or Delphinapterus Leucas, as they are scientifically called are very social, small white whales with a bulbous melon on their head, which distinguishes them from other whales. Their scientific name Delphinapterus, means dolphin-without-a-wing, and most likely refers to the lack of dorsal fin that these whales do not have and that most whales do. Due to the fact that belugas have a soft and flexible blubber around their heads, they have the ability to turn their heads almost 90 degrees to either side and can change their facial expressions relatively easy unlike other whales. These belugas are often called canary's of the sea because they make a series of noises such as chirps, clicks, whistles and squeals, that help them communicate amongst each other and help them find their meal through echolocation. The average adult male beluga weighs between 700 and 1600 kilograms, and can measure up to 2.6 to 6.7 meters.
These small white whales can be found globally, mainly in arctic waters, and some are found in the the Cook Inlet and also the St. Lawrence River. Belugas spend most of their lives swimming in cold arctic waters but during the summer they migrate to shallow estuaries and bays. During migration they congregate and often travel in groups that range from 2-3 to as many as several hundreds. Generally a mother beluga whales mating season is between late winter and early spring, giving birth every 2 to 3 years to a single calf. At birth the baby beluga whales are born in a dark grayish color and weigh around 70 kilograms. Within a year or two they start getting more blue in color, finally when they reach sexual maturity they achieve the white color they currently have. Throughout their lives, belugas feed on a variety of fish including, salmon, tomcod, smelt, whitefish, arctic cod, shrimp, and octopus.
In the year 2012, the Beluga whale was officially classified as a near threatened species by the IUCN Red List ( "Delphinapterus Leucas"). The Cook Inlet Beluga, a sub species of the beluga whale, is found in the St. Lawrence estuary is currently listed as a critically endangered species ( "Beluga Whales, Delphinapterus Leucas"). Globally, there are about 100,000 belugas, and just barely over 300 Cook Inlet...

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