Researcher to travel Canadian Arctic to observe Belugas Whales

Researcher to travel Canadian Arctic to observe Belugas Whales

Valeria Vergara, research associate at the Vancouver Aquarium is all set to stay at the Canadian Arctic for a full month and study how belugas whales are handling climate change. Her plans are to start off this research from July
3 until August 8 and she will be putting up at the Nunavut's Arctic Watch wilderness lodge this whole time.

Her basic study would include observing communication between beluga whales and their calves so as to figure out the possible impacts of melting glaciers on their interaction. This is of importance as off late there has been increased access for all sorts of boat traffic in the area and this creates a lot of noise and is harmful for the whales, as Belugas are a sound-centered species. Auditory communication is the key to their survival. Vergara on this said that if belugas cannot communicate with each other then there is plenty at stake.

"If the calf cannot remain physical contact with the adult, because they cannot hear each other, the calf could potentially die", said Vergara. For her study she has chosen the best time of the year as this is the time when belugas and their newborn calves start to arrive in Nunavut.

So, there is a very high possibility that as this Behavioral ecologist Vergara reaches Cunningham Inlet, on Summerset Island about 800 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, she will have the best opportunity to listen in on the belugas whales as they teach their calves to communicate.

All this research is funded by The Arctic Watch Beluga Foundation which is a non-profit organization.


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