Beluga whales have been in the public eye pretty much ever since 1980, when Raffi came out with the “Baby Beluga” song. Previous works of Raffi include “Down by the Bay” and the infamously catchy “Bananaphone”. Still, Beluga whales weren’t that relevant until Raffi published the song, and despite the fact that scientists have been trying to study them since, they have had little luck. Finally, after decades of attempts, scientists track Beluga whales for feeding patterns.
Beluga whales feeding patterns
According to the data received from the satellites after tracking the tagged Beluga whales, the white sea mammals tend to dive deep under the water so as to maximize the amount of food which is available to them during a hunt.
Members of the two tracked populations live in the Bering Sea, but as the weather begins to warm and the ice begins to melt, they go north, moving to the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. It can take thousands of miles to complete these journeys, and the animals resume their normal ways once they are finished.
Arrived in their new summer homes, the whales dive as deep as half a mile underwater, searching for food. But this only happens occasionally, as most of the times the animals only dive a third of that distance. They tend to search both the ocean floor and sloping grounds in order to find their meals.
This is the largest amount of information that marine biologists were able to obtain about the creatures’ feeding habits, and it was due to satellite tracking. Generally, they live in very cold and remote waters, making them very difficult to study.
More about the elusive animals
Since the animals travel quite close to shore, they are easy to tag, and then to be tracked by satellite. However, since this is mainly owed to the recent development of tracking technology, this option hasn’t been available before. This means that most of what the scientists tracking the animals are getting is new information.
By tracking the patterns of 30 animals over 15 years, the researchers managed to find out a lot about the animals that they didn’t know before. The researchers are already planning to study exactly how the whales are affected by climate change in the Arctic.
Image source: Wikimedia