Reproduction and Life


What it takes to
be a Beluga

Facts and About Me




























ŠLisa Walter, 2007

Do They Play Well With Others??

      The Beluga has many different types of interactions but overall most of them are within their own pods. First of all, the beluga has three main predators, Killer Whales, Polar Bears, and Humans. They are a form of nutrition for their predators but Inuits and other arctic civilizations, also use the oils and skin of the Beluga in their own communities. They do have good relationships with their other Family species, the Narwhal, and will usually migrate with them as well as Bowhead whales.

     The most predominant relationships are formed within the Beluga species. They are very vocal with each other while migrating between winter and summer breeding grounds to make sure they are keeping together and hunt and play together. Yet, the pods are very unstable, whales may go back and forth between pods and likely bonds are not extremely strong between other whales. The mother and calf bond has been proven to be the strongest relationship within their lives. In one study they tracked a calf and a mother and found that the pathways of the two overlap entirely which implies that they stay with each other though mature. The calf usually stays significantly with its mother until 5 or 6 years after maturity. The other strong bond formed is with the other females of the pod that support and help other females during birth. Often groups of mothers and calves will break off and form their own pods away from the males.

   Belugas provide a source of food and resources to the societies that still hunt them in the Northern areas. Also, an enjoyable impact on people are that belugas are very curious about boats and humans and will come in close contact. Their friendliness provides great whale watching business in the North. The only negative effect belugas have on humans is that they create competition for food for those societies that rely heavily on fishing. The Beluga does not have large effects on the human race other than being hunted and use of flesh but humans do have a very negative effect on Belugas. Recent studies have shown that pollution and carcinogens have been infecting the Beluga with viruses and infections. The studies showed that Belugas have been found containing the herpes virus and cancers normally found in humans.
The pesticides and other water contaminants are not broken down in the water and attach to sediment and other sea life, which are both consumed by the Beluga while they scavenge the bottom or by consuming prey.

Picture Permission By:
Pallas, P.S., 1776.  Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs,