Featured Image Credit: Baleines En Direct
BALIENES EN DIRECT
In July, researchers were tagging beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River. The project was focused on finding out more about these uniquely white whales, but they encountered a surprise
While doing drone surveillance, researchers spotted a narwhal within a group of beluga whales. The narwhal seemed completely comfortable with his blindingly white friends. It was an unusual sighting because narwhals and beluga whales are not known to be friends.
Narwhals are typically found in the icy waters of the Arctic, which is roughly 600 miles north of the St Lawrence River. The narwhal in this beluga pod was a young male that seemed at home with the belugas. In fact, researcher Robert Michaud claimed that “it behaves like it was one of the boys. It’s a like a big social ball of young juveniles that are playing some social, sexual games.”
Marine biologists are not completely surprised by the interaction. Whales are highly intelligent animals that are capable of creating meaningful bonds with others. It is exciting to see that these bonds may extend beyond species lines.
This is not the first sighting of this narwhal with the beluga pod. He has been seen socializing with the same group in both 2016 and 2017. Scientists have speculated that the narwhal may have come this far south in response to a changing climate, but they know that they need to conduct more observations in order to find out more about this awesome interaction.
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