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RESEARCH ~ PROTECTION ~ EDUCATION

The presence of a lone juvenile beluga whale was first reported to the WSP at the end of July, 2003 after being  observed by boaters in a remote pristine region of Newfoundland. During the next two weeks, subsequent reports of the whale's whereabouts were only  sporadic due to minimal boat traffic in the area.

The description of this whale, including size, colour, the absence of any visible scarring and the behaviour, lead Project Director, Cathy Kinsman to suspect that this was a new solitary beluga. With sightings occurring for three consecutive days in the same location, Cathy immediately traveled to the area and with the generous help of local residents and their boat, was able to confirm that this was indeed the newest of a string of solitary     beluga whales to show up around Newfoundland annually for the past five years.

This young beluga who measures only about 2 meters (between 6-7 ft.) in length was nick-named Ce'Sea for Newfoundland resident, Catherine Elizabeth who, with her husband Ed, showed so much compassion for the lost whale and much needed assistance to the WSP.

The WSP monitored the whale, documenting her behaviour primarily from shore and minimally from an anchored boat. Ce'Sea's behaviour as of mid August 2003, differed from the other more sociable belugas in that she did not interact with boats or  humans at or near the surface, did not make exceptionally close approaches, never made physical contact and often moved away from boats with motors on. She also was observed to swim rapidly away from a boat when humans on board moved abruptly or noisily. Project Director, Cathy Kinsman believes that Ce'Sea's cautious behaviour indicates that she either associates a negative experience with humans or has yet to be exposed to a significant amount of human and boat activity. The WSP's recommendation is that boaters refrain from encouraging interaction if they should come across this or other solitary belugas, to avoid behavioural modification that can potentially become detrimental to the well- being of the whale.

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Whale Stewardship Project

P.O. Box 36101

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada   B3J 3S9

1-902-889-2679

Email: wsp@eastlink.ca

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