Spring and Summer Sightings 2003

August 25, 2003

New solitary beluga!

On Aug. 13 and 14 WSP Director, Catherine Kinsman documented a new juvenile female beluga in a pristine cove in Newfoundland, accessible only by boat. The beluga was showing very early signs of habituation to human activity but was tentative and actually appeared to avoid boats with motors running. This beluga has thus far been exposed to minimal human activity, and has not (yet) traveled into populated areas or sought out contact with humans and boats to any significant degree. We recommend that attempts to engage this new young whale in interaction be avoided. Photo and more on "Ce'Sea"

WSP helping with solitary sociable St. Lawrence beluga

A solitary beluga has been travelling the north shore of the St. Lawrence River this summer in the vicinity of the Mingan Islands and Havre St Pierre. The whale began exhibiting interactive behaviour with boats and humans, some of which was quite intense. The WSP is contributing to the protection initiatives for this whale by working in cooperation with GREMM (Groupe de recherche et d'education sur les mammiferes marins) who has produced a french translation of our guidelines for distribution in the region. Project Director, Catherine Kinsman was on her way to conduct monitoring and data collection when she got word that the whale had "disappeared" about mid-August. Cathy remains on stand-by should the beluga return.

June 11, 2003

As expected, we did not receive reports of solitary belugas in  Atlantic Canada during the winter and early spring months. The whales typically "disappear" during this time when they often must navigate pack-ice and travel away from the ice-covered harbours of coastal communities.

First reported sighting of the year!

On Mother's Day, May 11, 2003 a solitary beluga whale approached two recreational divers in St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia. The beluga whale remained with the divers for  about 15 minutes. Although the whale did not make physical contact with the divers, who were only several meters from shore and in less than 10 meters of water, he/she did approach closely several times and made eye contact. One of the divers, was able to provide a good description of scars and markings. We are anxiously awaiting other sighting reports.

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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