Every summer, over 50,000 beluga whales make a trip south. Starting from close to the Arctic Circle, they head down to the mouth of the Churchill River, where it meets Hudson Bay.
These shallow waters are the perfect shelter for these gentle marine mammals to feed and raise their young calves. There are very few orcas here, which are the main predator of belugas.
Sounds lovely, right? Would you like to see it all happen? Well, you can!
That's because a non-profit organization called Polar Bear International has teamed up with explore.org to provide two awesome livestreaming channels! Called Beluga Cam, they take you direct to these waters to watch the belugas swim past and enjoy their summer home.
Observing and raising awareness
There are two purposes behind the Beluga Cam.
The first is to observe the behaviour of the belugas in their natural habitat. There is still so much to learn about these animals, and one of the best ways to do this is to put cameras on them 24/7! This particular population of belugas is an excellent case study—it is one of the largest and healthiest in the world. But we can't take for granted that it will always stay that way. Like everywhere else on the planet, this part of the world is warming rapidly. Which brings us to the second purpose ...
Researchers also want to raise awareness of the situation facing belugas and another marine mammals in the Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. Every year there is less and less sea ice, which is an important part of the ecosystem of polar bears, seals, belugas, orcas, narwhals, and more. It is also breaking up earlier than ever before. Normally, the ice around the Churchill River is only finally broken up by mid-July (now). But this year (and in recent years), it broke up weeks ago.
Choose your own belug-adventure
The two cameras that you can watch are attached to the research vessel Delphi. One camera is underwater. The other is 'on deck', meaning it shows the view of the crew on board.
These two cameras started livestreaming on Friday, July 15, and they are going right now! They will shift between live views and 'highlights', which show the best moments of the past few days.
Click on either below to start your beluga viewing experience!