BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Although the water around the Arctic reasons are not renowned for their kindness towards wildlife and man, it would seem that these gentle giants of the sea manage to find their way around. A new study performed by the University of Washington provides a fresh insight into the Beluga’s foraging patterns.
Anyone who’s ever visited an aquarium known about the beluga whale. Gentle giant they are and always with a smile pinned on their faces. In some aspects, the beluga whales resemble dolphins, especially when it comes to wits.
But apart from their looks and charms, beluga whales are also renowned for their ability to live and hunt in the most inhospitable region of the planet, more specifically the Arctic Circle. Unfortunately, up until now, the scientists knew little about the whale’s foraging and migration habits.
However, due to improved tagging tech, the researchers are now able to follow these gentle giants on the sea more closely. Note that the weather conditions in the Artic make almost impossible any tracking endeavor.
Overcoming this obstacle via high-tech tagging and tracking gadgets, the team of scientists from the University of Washington managed to gain a fresh insight into the Beluga’s foraging pattern. In order to determine these patterns, the team of marine researchers had to consult all the readings received from the tracking devices for the past 15 years. Approximately 30 whales were tracked for the duration of this study.
According to the scientists in charge of the project, there are two different families of Beluga whales. The marine researchers have observed that during the winter, the two families of Beluga whales prefer to remain in the Bering Sea. As summer approaches, and the snow in the arctic regions begins to fade away, the two families of Beluga whales begin their migration to the north. Most of them would spread out equally in the Chukchi and the Beaufort seas.
It took the scientists a while to figure out why the gentle giants fancy these frozen pockets of water. According to their observations, the whales gather around these pockets of water because there are littered with wild Arctic cod.
Moreover, the data gathered via the tags showed that the whales often resort to diving in deep waters in order to search for their food. The data revealed that a Beluga whale will dive at a depth between 650 and 1000 feet in order to search for the mouth-watering cod. They’ve also noted that the whale is capable of changing its diving depth depending on the ocean’s floor topography.
For now, researchers have focused their attention towards the effects of climate shift on the Arctic fauna.