National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada
This page has been archived.
Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
Canada’s National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan
Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas)
© Parks Canada / Dorothea Kappler, 1995
Highly social animals, belugas were dubbed 'sea canaries' by the early whalers who heard their calls through the ship's hull. They have one of the most varied vocal repertoires of any whale and have been compared to such chatterboxes as monkeys and humans. Beluga feed near the bottom in shallow waters, eating various types of fish such as salmon, capelin, herring, cod and charr, as well as squid, octopus and crustaceans. Beluga occur throughout the Canadian Arctic in several discrete populations, a number of which have been overhunted and are listed as endangered and threatened. The only southern population, also endangered, is found in the St. Lawrence Estuary.