Species at Risk
Beluga (St. Lawrence population)
Beluga in Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park.
© Parks Canada / W. Lynch /05.53.10.03
The beluga, also called the “white whale,” “white porpoise”
and “sea canary,” has always been fascinating. With its white
skin and prominent forehead, it is easily recognizable among the other sea
mammals. The St. Lawrence beluga spends the year in the St. Lawrence estuary
and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and frequents the Saguenay River Fjord during
the summer. This curious, chatty and outgoing mammal has been threatened with
extinction for some decades. The main reason for this species’ decline
is whaling, which took place until the 20th century. Pollution has been and
still is a significant cause of the St. Lawrence beluga’s uncertain
situation. To maintain a viable population of this mammal in the St. Lawrence,
a recovery plan has been put in place. A true environmental symbol in Quebec,
the beluga can even be found at the very origin of the founding of the Saguenay–St.
Lawrence Marine Park!