Beluga whales, protected by a thick insulating layer of blubber, thrive in the icy Arctic and sub-Arctic waters of Canada, Alaska, Russia, Norway and Greenland. Of the 22 possible beluga populations in the Arctic, seven live in Canada’s Arctic for at least part of the year.
Belugas travel between summer and winter grounds as sea ice breaks up or freezes and gather in large numbers during summer at specific estuaries, where the rivers meet the ocean. Studies by Canadian researchers suggest that belugas who return to the same estuaries tend to be closely related to each other. Satellite-linked transmitters (tags) attached to belugas are helping us better understand their seasonal movements, but there is still much to learn.
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