Endangered species: the Beluga Whale

Delphinapterus leucas, known as Whale Beluga, is a species of cetacean mammal that lives in the arctic and subarctic (Russia, Canada, Alaska and Greenland).

Distribución beluga

Delphinapterus leucas distribution

This Whale has a length of 5.5 meters in general. Males can reach a weight of 3500 pounds and the females, smaller, about 2600 pounds.

When they born are born, pups are dark brown color or  bluish grey. As they are growing, they acquire a grey color, and when they are already adults they become ivory or white colour. They are the only species in the world with this colour in the whole body.

ballena beluga1

Delphinapterus leucas

ballena beluga bebe

Adult Beluga Whale and pup

These whales have short pectoral fins, lack a dorsal fin and have a long tail. They possess a big mouth with 40 teeth and their head has a characteristic form, since it looks like the dolphin, but it has a frontal bossing, where they have an organ called melon: oval tissue whose nature is lipid and serves for echolocation.

Delfinekko

Echolocation

For centuries, this species has been the sustenance of the native of North America and Russia, and the object of commercial hunt during the XIXth and XXth century. However, nowadays hunting is prohibited and only it is allowed for the sustenance of some nuit subpopulations (eskimo tribe that lives in the Arctic tundra of Northern Alaska, Canada and Greenland).

Due to this hunt for years, both for the human and for his natural predators, polar bears and killer whales, togheter the pollution of rives and infectious diseases, the number of individuals of this species has declined drastically, leaving only 100,000 in the whole world. In 2008 this species was added to the Red List of the UICN as endangered species.

ballena beluga

Delphinapterus leucas species

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