Beluga spotted off the US coast near San Diego | Polarjournal
The beluga was discovered and filmed near San Diego. Normally, the animals, which are up to 6 metres long and weigh 1.5 tonnes, are solely Arctic inhabitants. They get their name from their white coloration, which they receive as adults. Picture: GoneWhaleWatching via The OCR

Whales are known for long migrations. Gray whales, for example, migrate annually from the Baja California to the Bering Sea or the Arctic Ocean, a migration of 10,000 kilometers. Many whale species move from spring onwards from their reproductive areas in the south to the far north, where there is enough food waiting for them. Only belugas, also called white whales, spend all their time in the far north. But one specimen has now gone rogue. It was discovered off San Diego, on the coast of Southern California.

The first to discover the beluga were Lisa LaPointe, an American biologist, photographer and polar guide, and Chris Faist, a teacher. Both were on a boat off the coast when they spotted the whale. Lisa contacted the captain of another boat as they were having trouble getting close to the animal. Domenic Biagini, the captain of the other boat, was on tour himself. “I know Lisa’s knowledge is unmatched. She said they kept seeing it, but couldn’t get near it,” Biagini said in an interview. At first hesitant, Biagini yet decided to give it a try and stopped his original tour. After several attempts, the whale suddenly appeared almost 200 meters in front of his boat. “My jaw just dropped to the floor and I had to pick it up again, because I knew exactly what I was looking at,” Biagini continued. He used his drone and took excellent footage of the whale. It have since gone viral and amaze the experts.

Sighting of a Lifetime

In our company sightings log, we have a category for every single species we can see in our waters. However, we also have a special categoy titled "Extreme Exotic Species". Today we entered BELUGA WHALE into that category, thanks to help from Lisa LaPointe and @Chris Faist who were first on scene with what they felt was something impossible. We decided it was worth it to take the shot and check out this strange sighting report. As we got on scene, this animal was next to impossible to get close too, but it sure did appear to be the unicorn we suspected it to be. At one point, the animal disappeared for 30 minutes without us getting any kind of incontrovertiable proof of the Beluga Whale identification. Luckily, it was our boat that relocated the animal, and it was close enough to us that Capt. Dom was able to get his drone over this pearly white animal and offically prove what we all knew: This was a BELUGA WHALE in San Diego waters! This is the first time a Beluga Whale has been documented anywhere near California, as it is over 6,000 miles from its regular home. We aren't really sure how this sighting was possible, but we hope this footage might help the experts come up with some theories! By the way, we also saw Blue Whales, Fin Whales, and Humpback Whales today! What an amazing day aboard Gone Whale Watching!

Gepostet von Gone Whale Watching San Diego am Freitag, 26. Juni 2020

Experts from the National Ocean and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) confirmed that the animal is in relatively good condition, even though it is about 4,000 kilometers from the southernmost known beluga populations. According to Robert Brownell, a NOAA scientist, the southernmost known group is in Cook-Inlet, near Anchorage Alaska. However, most beluga populations live much further north. Belugas are actual true Arctic whales that stay away from warmer areas. In recent years, however, belugas have appeared in unusual places: in 2019, one whale appeared in the River Thames near London, and another animal appeared near Hammerfest in Norway. On the eastern side of North America, belugas were sometimes spotted in the estuary of St. Lorenz stream (Canada). But the appearance of this 15-foot-long animal off the coast of Southern California is unprecedented.

Belugas belong to the toothed whales and are very social animals. They usually migrate in same-sex groups of 10 to 15 animals. In late summer, the bulls and cows meet in coastal waters to mate. Up to 200 animals can come together. Photo: Michael Wenger

Belugas are found in all Arctic regions and are adapted to a life in the cold and darkness. They have a thick layer of fat that protects them from the cold and a pronounced sense of echolocation for orientation in the dark. They are also among the few animals that have facial expressions because they can purse their lips. Because of the whistling tones they use for communication, the animals are also called “canaries of the sea”. Belugas can grow up to 6 meters long and can weigh up to 1.5 tons. The calves are grey when they are born and then become white when getting older. Inuit hunt belugas as part of their livelihood. The fat (Muktuk, Mattak) is rich in vitamin C and thus prevents scurvy.

Michael Wenger, PolarJournal AG

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