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Beluga - Svalbard


Found in the Arctic and sub-arctic regions of Russia, Svalbard, Greenland, and North America, the Beluga Whale or White Whale is the most common specie of cetacean in the Svalbard archipelago.
Scientists estimate the population of belugas in Svalbard at 5,000 to 10,000. This whale can be up to 5m long. Males can weigh 1.5 tons and females about one ton.
Belugas are extremely sociable mammals that live, hunt and migrate together in close-knit pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales.

In Svalbard, one observes small groups of 10 to 30 belugas swimming close to the coasts. The first photo shows a female bear and its bear cub attracted by the presence of a carcass of beluga near Danskøya (Island of the Danes). The other photos show a group of 200 belugas met in Isfjorden in september 2005, near Diabasodden at the entry of Sassenfjorden.

It is not rare in Spitsbergen to see small rorquals, (whales long from 7 to 10 m), to come to feed in the fjords.
In Svalbard, narwhals, very rare, concentrate in the north-west area of Spitzbergen.
The Greenland Whale (also known as Greenland Right Whale, Bowhead Whale or Arctic Whale), most current specie in Svalbard in the 17th century, almost disappeared from Svalbard since the period of intensive hunting, during the 17th and 18th centuries.

  Click on the pictures to enlarge - Pictures taken in Spitsbergen
  Polar Bears and carcass of Beluga   Belugas in Sassenfjorden   Belugas in Diabasodden - Sassenfjord   Beluga in Diabasodden - Sassenfjord  
Beluga pod in Sassenfjord Beluga in Sassenfjorden Young Beluga (dark grey) Beluga pod in Diabasodden



 Beluga range map

Beluga range map

Beluga on Wikipedia

 Rare whale visits Svalbard
- July 21, 2006

In July 2006, a Greenland Whale (Bowhead Whale) has been seen in Longyearyen, near the pier Bykaia. The whale, which measured 15 meters long stayed in the Adventfjorden Bay for around 12 hours and was also seen by passengers of a tourist vessel.
The Greenland Whale is believed to be nearly extinct in Salbard. In 2006, researchers from the the Norwegian Polar Institute and the University of Oslo searched for Greenland whales in the area between Greenland and Svalbard, and they counted only 20. The population of these Whales numbered as many as 25,000 in Svalbard before intensive hunting since the 1600s.
This observation was reported by Aftenposten.

Aftenposten - News from Norway
Greenland Whale on Wikipedia

 Spitsbergen West and Sassenfjorden

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