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National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada

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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.

Last Updated: 2013-05-10 To the top
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