beluga calf


Here’s your daily dose of CUTE!

via natgeo / by Cristina Mittermeier

Intro: The St. Lawrence beluga population is threatened. The population is found swimming in the St. Lawrence river, off the coast of Quebec and Newfoundland. Less than 150 years ago there was over 10,000 belugas in the population, and today, there’s only about 1000. Why are they threatened? The biggest factor that led to the decline of the species is whaling. It was banned in 1979, but the population still struggles to grow due to factors such as pollution, stress caused by humans and boat traffic, reduced food caused by overfishing, collisions wwith boats, and getting tangled in fishing nets. Ways to help: You can help the St. Lawrence beluga population by limiting your seafood consumption (or by cutting out seafood entirely), observing them from a distance, reducing your energy and water use, recylcing, calling the toll free number, 1-877-727-5346 if you ever happen to see a beluga in trouble, and by spreading awareness! Physical Characteristics: Belugas are known for their bright white skin and “smiles”. They are relatively large dolphins with thick blubber to stay warm in cold water. Females can grow to be about 13 feet long, and males can reach 16 feet. Infant are grey in colour, and become white as they mature. Belugas are one of the only dolphin species who do not have a dorsal fin. Facts About Belugas: -Belugas are found in arctic waters, the St. Lawrence population is the Southern most beluga population in the world.  -Belugas have a wide range of vocals which has earned them the nickname, “Canaries of the Sea”. -Wild belugas can live to be 75. -Belugas have a high infant mortality rate. -Belugas live in groups of 2-10 members -Belugas only have one calf at a time, after a 14 month pregnancy. -Belugas are 1 of 2 dolphin species who can bend their necks!

anonymous asked:

Why is captivity harmful for all cetaceans, rather than just orcas? Specifically I'm curious about bottle nosed dolphins. My opinion used to be that it's unethical for orcas because 1) of how they're treated (obviously), 2) the captive average lifespan is shorter than the wild average lifespan, and 3) they're at the top of the preditorial food chain. Dolphins seem to be happier around people bc of how social they are and they're captive lifespan tends to be longer. What is your opinion?

All cetaceans suffer in captivity no matter the species. They are simply too intelligent and have such complex social and spatial needs that cannot be met in an aquarium. Orcas seem to be the focus of most anti-cap groups because of the Blackfish documentary, because they are so large, and probably because there is fewer of them in captivity so it is easier to keep track of new births and deaths.

Other cetaceans, like bottlenose dolphins, suffer similarly to orcas. They tend to be the most popular cetacean in captivity because of the easiness it takes to train them and the permanent “grin” on their face, making them appear charismatic and friendly. However, there is a multitude of things that can go wrong when you confine these animals to a tank. They chew on gates. They mourn the loss of their young. They log at the surface. They engage in self-harming behaviors (like ramming their heads into walls).

It’s also popular in aquariums to let paying visitors swim with them. People have been raked, slapped, bitten, and slammed in programs like this. They only cooperate with the trainers because of a food reward. Interacting with dolphins is never safe when it is not on their terms.

Bottlenose dolphins also have complex social structures like orcas. While they may not stay with their immediate family for life, their bonds are very important to them. In the wild, females and their calves travel together to keep each other safe. On the other hand, males leave their mothers and travel in “bachelor groups” with other males to find females to mate with. They, (especially younger teenage ones) can become extremely aggressive around other dolphins when it comes to this issue.

So you can imagine the chaos that ensues when you throw these males with other females and even nursing calves into the same tank and call it good. One of the worst examples of this that I can think of was SeaWorld’s feeding pool. When I went there in 2008, I watched young calves being chased around and around this small pool by rowdy males with nowhere to hide. All of the dolphins had rake marks along their back or face. It was appalling, to say the least.

And this doesn’t just occur in dolphins. A few years ago at Marineland Canada, a young beluga calf named Skoot died from his injuries after being separated from his mother and rammed by adult males. Infanticide is more common in captivity than aquariums would like the public to believe.

Other problems with cetacean in captivity include:

• Belugas kept in too-warm of water and mixed with other species (i.e. belugas and Pacific white-sided dolphins in SeaWorld Texas’ Azul show)
• False killer whales stuck in tanks when they are able to dive to depths of 2000 meters in the wild
• Shy species like Commerson’s dolphins or harbor porpoises being exposed to loud music and crowds of people (I.e. SeaWorld’s atrocious slip-n-slide ride that goes straight through a Commerson’s tank)

Feel free to add any more examples that you can think of!

All The Known Captive Cetaceans We Lost in 2015.
  1. Marina - bottlenose dolphin - Marineland Cataluña
  2. Mila-Tami - bottlenose dolphin - Marineland France
  3. Tiqué - white sided dolphin - Shedd Aquarium
  4. Éclair - bottlenose dolphin - Marineland France
  5. Moonshine - spotted dolphin - Mote Marine Laboratory
  6. Julius - fraisers dolphin - Ocean Adventure
  7. Nanuq - beluga - SeaWorld Orlando
  8. Jenson - bottlenose dolphin - SeaWorld Orlando
  9. Milky - bottlenose dolphin - Kagoshima City Aquarium
  10. Ahi - bottlenose dolphin - Sea Life Park Oahu
  11. Nico - finless porpoise - Miyajima Aquarium
  12. Unnamed Calf - bottlenose dolphin - Ocean Park Hong Kong
  13. Ai - bottlenose dolphin - Suma Aqualife Park
  14. Berend - harbor porpoise - Ecomare
  15. Kotaro - pilot whale - Tsukumi Irukajima
  16. Unnamed Calf - harbor porpoise - Otaru Aquarium
  17. Jula - bottlenose dolphin - uShaka Marine World
  18. Boksun’s Calf  - bottlenose dolphin - Sea Pen.
  19. Hana - white sided dolphin - Vancouver Aquarium
  20. Unnamed Calf - beluga - Georgia Aquarium
  21. Lagos - bottlenose dolphin - SeaWorld Orlando
  22. Elvis - bottlenose dolphin - Dolphins Plus 
  23. Freya - orca - Marineland France
  24. Aloa - bottlenose dolphin - Parc Astérix
  25. Unnamed Calf - bottlenose dolphin - Marineland Dolphin Adventure
  26. Bea - bottlenose dolphin - Texas State Aquarium
  27. Unnamed Calf - bottlenose dolphin - Zoo Duisburg
  28. Chocolat - bottlenose dolphin -Yokohama Sea Paradise
  29. Unnamed Calf - bottlenose dolphin - Planète Sauvage
  30. Lily - bottlenose dolphin - Kujukushima Aquarium
  31. Aspal - bottlenose dolphin - Enoshima Aquarium
  32. Ji-Ling - bottlenose dolphin - Dolphin Marine Magic
  33. Valentin - orca - Marineland France
  34. Maris - beluga - Georgia Aquarium
  35. Beetle - bottlenose dolphin - Mirage Dolphin Habitat
  36. Stella - beluga - SeaWorld San Antonio
  37. Jake -bottlenose dolphin - Dolphin Encounters
  38. Unna - orca -SeaWorld San Antonio
  39. Delfa - bottlenose dolphin - Utrish Dolphinarium
  40. Unnamed dolphin - bottlenose dolphin - Dolphin Discovery Punta Cana.

(Note; this list does not include the names of the stranded / sick cetaceans that died soon after being rescued).