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Distribution, seasonal migration, and abundance of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas Linnaeus, 1758) in the Pacific sector of the Arctic

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Delphinapterus leucas Pallas, 1776

Squad: Cetaceans (Сetacea)

Suborder: Toothed Whales (Odontoceti)

Family: Narwhal (Monodontidae)

Gender: Beluga whales (DelphinfpterusLaceped. 1804)

Other name:

Beluga, Beluga (equivalent, most commonly used first)

Where lives:

The beluga whale population is subdivided into 29 local herds by flying places, of which about 12 are located in Russia. It is circumpolarly distributed, between 50 ° and 80 ° N, inhabiting all the Arctic, as well as the Bering and Okhotsk seas, in winter calls to the Baltic Sea are known. In pursuit of fish (salmon for spawning), beluga whales entered the large rivers (Ob, Yenisei, Lena, Amur) until the middle of the last century, sometimes rising hundreds of kilometers upstream.

The size:

Beluga whales are characterized by sexual dimorphism: males are usually larger than females of the same age. Weight: males reach 850-1500 kg, females 650-1360 kg with a typical body length of 3.6-4.2 m. The largest males reach 6 m in length and 2 tons of weight.

Appearance:

The head of a beluga whale is spherical, “lobate”, the lower jaws practically do not protrude without a beak. The vertebrae on the neck are not fused together, so beluga whales, unlike most whales, can turn their heads. This makes it easier for her to navigate and maneuver in the ice. The pectoral fins are small, oval in shape. The dorsal fin is absent - this allows the beluga whale to move freely under the ice. Hence the Latin name of the genus Delphinapterus leucas - "White dolphin without dorsal fin."

Skin with a loose layer of epidermis (up to 12 mm thick) resembles an external shock absorber and partially protects belugas from damage when swimming among the ice. They are saved from hypothermia by a layer of subcutaneous fat up to 10-12 cm thick, in places up to 18 cm, which is up to 40% of the body weight of a beluga whale. The color of the skin is plain. It changes with age: newborns are light brown due to the thick layer of the epidermis, which, as the cub grows, falls off in pieces and the lower parts of the dermis rise to the surface with an abundance of dark pigment - melanin. The general coloration becomes dark blue, growth and molting continue and the calves become gray, then bluish-gray, individuals older than 4-7 years old are pure white.

Behavior and lifestyle:

Some beluga populations make regular migrations. They are associated with seasonal movements of schools of fish. So, the movement of the beluga whale population from Cook Bay in Alaska repeats the movement of its main prey - salmon.

In spring, belugas begin to move to the shore - to desalinated shallow bays, fjords and estuaries of northern rivers. Flying off the coast due to the presence of food here and a higher temperature of desalinated water. The latter improves the conditions for molting and shedding of the old layer of the epidermis. Often, in order to remove the dead surface layer of the skin, belugas rub against the bottom - sand in shallow water. Belugas are attached to the same places of flying, visiting them from year to year. Tracking of individual individuals showed that belugas remember the place of their birth and the path to it after wintering.

Local flocks in summer (reproductive clusters) play a dual role in the biology of the species. Firstly, they provide reproduction of the population and isolation from neighboring local herds, and secondly, they play a crucial role in terms of making all kinds of individual contacts (sexual, game, etc.) between members of the herd, maintaining hierarchical relationships and promoting education and training young animals. This ensures the preservation of the social structure of the local herd and the individual and group status of its members.

Not all populations migrate. Their need is determined by specific ice conditions and the presence of food accumulations.

In winter, white whales, as a rule, keep the edges of ice fields, but sometimes they penetrate far into the glaciation zone, where winds and currents support cracks, streaks and wormwoods. When icing large areas make massive roosts from these areas. Wormwoods, to which belugas rise to breathe, can be removed several kilometers from each other. Their belugas are found by means of noise-finding and sometimes locations. But sometimes they are trapped - in ice captivity, if the distance to clear water exceeds 3-4.5 km. The dorsal part of the body and the upper part of the head are made up of thick and strong skin, which allows them to be used to maintain wormwood, breaking with ice up to 4-6 centimeters thick.

Belugas are social animals. A herd of beluga whales consists of clans, and clans - from families arranged on the principle of matriarchy. The family consists of primary family groups: mothers and 1-2 cubs. Males in the herd and clan play the role of guards and scouts of accumulations of fish. In large concentrations of fish, several herds of beluga whales sometimes gather, and the feeding animals hatch into herds of hundreds or even thousands of heads.

Nutrition:

The basis of beluga food is fish, mainly schooling (capelin, cod, polar cod, herring, navaga, flounder, whitefish and salmon species), to a lesser extent - crustaceans and cephalopods. Beluga whales do not grab prey, especially bottom organisms, but absorb it. An adult consumes about 15 kg of food per day. But such lucky days are rare.

Reproduction:

In the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, mating with belugas occurs in April - May, in the Gulf of Ob in July, in the Barents and Kara Seas from May to August, in St. Lawrence Bay from February to August, and in the Hudson Bay, females are fertilized from March to September. Thus, the mating period lasts about 6 months, but the bulk of the females are fertilized in a relatively short time - the end of April - beginning - mid-July. The rest of the year, in most cases, only individual animals mate.

The period of childbirth is extended, as well as the period of mating, and childbirth can be, starting from early spring during all summer months. Thus, pregnancy in belugas lasts 11.5 months, it is believed that this period can reach 13-14 months. As a rule, females give birth in estuaries that bring warmer waters. The female brings one cub 140-160 cm long, very rarely - two. The lactation period lasts about 12 months. The next mating can occur one to two weeks after birth.

Life span:

Life expectancy in nature is 32–40 years (the known maximum female age is 44 years).

Strength:the exact number is not known.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are about 150,000 belugas in the world. Russian populations, according to the International Whale Fishery Commission, account for up to 27,000 individuals. At the same time, the 3 largest groups of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk account for up to 20,000 belugas.

Natural enemies:

The killer whale is the enemy of belugas.

Threats to the mind:

The main danger for these whales is toxic waste, polluting their habitat, as well as industrial displacement from the Arctic habitats, especially in key areas - breeding and feeding areas. In recent years, noise pollution has sharply increased - due to the development of shipping and an increase in the flow of wild tourists, which impedes normal reproduction and leads to a decrease in the number of cubs - i.e. reduction in herd numbers.

Interesting Facts

In winter, the beluga whale hunts for cod, flounder, goby, pollock, making very deep dives - up to 300-1000 m, and remaining under water for up to 25 minutes. Despite its massiveness, the beluga whale is distinguished by dexterity, it is able to swim on its back and even backwards. It usually swims at a speed of 3-9 km / h, frightened, can jerk up to 22 km / h.

For the variety of whaling sounds made by them in the 19th century. nicknamed the beluga whale "sea canary" (sea ​​canary), and the Russian appeared the expression "roaring beluga" - a characteristic roar of a male during the rut.

Researchers at Beluga whales estimated about 50 sound signals: whistling, screeching, chirping, screaming, rattle, piercing scream, roar and others. In addition, beluga whales use “body language” (slaps on the water with their tail fins) and even facial expressions when communicating.

In addition to screams, belugas emit clicks in the ultrasonic range. A system of air sacs in the soft tissues of the head takes part in their production, and radiation is focused by a special fat pillow on the forehead - melon (an acoustic lens). Reflected from surrounding objects, the clicks return to the beluga whale, the “jaw” is the lower jaw, which transfers vibrations to the middle ear cavity. Echo analysis allows the animal to get an accurate picture of the environment. Beluga whale has excellent hearing and echolocation. These animals are able to hear in a wide range of frequencies from 40-75 Hz to 30-100 kHz.

Beluga whales also have well-developed vision, both under water and above its surface. Beluga whale eyesight is likely to be color because its retina contains rods and cones - photoreceptor cells. However, studies have not yet confirmed this.

Compiled by: Member of the Board of the Marine Mammal Council,

Head Laboratory of Marine Mammals, IO RAS, Doctor of Biological Sciences V.M. Belkovich

Abstract of a scientific article in biological sciences, author of a scientific paper - V. V. Melnikov

Based on our own observations and literature data, we reviewed the seasonal distribution and migration of belugas from the Pacific Ocean sector. It has been shown that beluga whales hibernate in wormholes, streams and cracks among the solid ice, mainly in the western part of the Bering Sea. The spatial segregation of animals of various populations (herds) of beluga whales wintering in the Bering Sea is not visible. After wintering, belugas go to the north, mainly the western part of the Bering Sea and then through the Bering Strait in the direction of the northwestern coast of Alaska. In the summer, animals are almost completely absent in the coastal zone of the Chukchi Peninsula, both in the Chukchi Sea and in the Bering Sea. Along with beluga whales, which go to high latitudes for summer feeding, there are groups (herds, populations) that do not perform long-distance migrations and walk in the bays and estuaries of large rivers in the Bering Sea. This confirms the assumption that there are two ecological forms of beluga whales in the Pacific sector of the Arctic. In autumn, belugas migrate in the Chukchi Sea on a wide front, mainly in the direction of the northern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula and further along it, to the Bering Strait. In the northern part of the Bering Sea, they form temporary concentrations in the area of ​​Cape Peek-Litke-Nunyamo, from where they are redistributed to the south as part of large shoals.

DISTRIBUTION, SEASONAL MIGRATIONS AND STOCK ABUNDANCE OF BELUGA WHALE (DELPHINAPTERUS LEUCAS LINNAEUS, 1758) IN THE PACIFIC SECTOR OF ARCTIC

A review of seasonal distribution and migrations of beluga whales in the Pacific sector of Arctic is prov> the Bering Sea revealed. It is found that on wintering the whales migrated northward mainly in the west part of the Bering Sea and across the Bering Strait to the North-Western coast of Alaska. In summer season beluga whales were rare in Chukotka peninsula coastal zone of the Bering and the Chukchi Seas. As> the Bering Sea. These groups d> the Bering Sea. Such observations can confirm hypothesis about two ecological forms of beluga whales occurring in the Pacific sector of the Arctic. In the Chukchi Sea during fall time beluga whales mainly undertake autumn migrations to the northern shore of Chukotka peninsula and then to the Bering Strait. In the Northern Bering Sea they form temporary concentrations in area between the capes Peek Litke Nunyamo from which in large stocks redistribute to the South direction.

The text of the scientific work on the theme "Distribution, seasonal migration, and abundance of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas Linnaeus, 1758) in the Pacific sector of the Arctic"

RESEARCH OF WATER BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES OF KAMCHATKA AND THE NORTH-WESTERN PART OF THE PACIFIC, 2014, vol. 35

UDC 599.51 DOI 15853 / 2072-8212.2014.35.87-102

DISTRIBUTION, SEASONAL MIGRATIONS AND NUMBER OF WHITE WHITE (DELPHINAPTERUS LEUCAS LINNAEUS, 1758) OF THE PACIFIC SECTOR OF THE ARCTIC

Vedas. n p., Pacific Oceanological Institute FEB RAS 690031 Vladivostok, Baltic, 43 Tel., Fax: (423) 231-28-67, (423) 231-25-73 E-mail: [email protected]

BELUKHA, SEASONAL MIGRATIONS, NUMBER, CHUKOTSKY SEA, BERINGOVA SEA, CHUKOTSKY PENINSULA

Based on our own observations and literature data, we reviewed the seasonal distribution and migration of belugas from the Pacific Ocean sector. It has been shown that beluga whales hibernate in wormholes, streams and cracks among the solid ice, mainly in the western part of the Bering Sea. The spatial segregation of animals of various populations (herds) of beluga whales wintering in the Bering Sea is not visible. After wintering, belugas go to the north, mainly the western part of the Bering Sea and then through the Bering Strait in the direction of the northwestern coast of Alaska. In the summer, animals are almost completely absent in the coastal zone of the Chukchi Peninsula, both in the Chukchi Sea and in the Bering Sea. Along with beluga whales, which go to high latitudes for summer feeding, there are groups (herds, populations) that do not perform long-distance migrations and walk in the bays and estuaries of large rivers in the Bering Sea. This confirms the assumption that there are two ecological forms of beluga whales in the Pacific sector of the Arctic. In autumn, belugas migrate in the Chukchi Sea on a wide front, mainly in the direction of the northern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula and further along it, to the Bering Strait. In the northern part of the Bering Sea, they form temporary concentrations in the area of ​​Cape Peek-Litke-Nunyamo, from where they are redistributed to the south as part of large shoals.

DISTRIBUTION, SEASONAL MIGRATIONS AND STOCK ABUNDANCE OF BELUGA WHALE (DELPHINAPTERUS LEUCAS LINNAEUS, 1758) IN THE PACIFIC SECTOR OF ARCTIC V.V. Melnikov

Leading scientist, Pacific Oceonological Institute FEB RAS 690031 Vladivostok, Baltiyskaya, 43 Tel., Fax: (423) 231-28-67), (423) 231-25-73 E-mail: [email protected]

BELUGA WHALE, SEASONAL MIGRATION, ABUNDANCE, THE CHUKCHI SEA, THE BERING SEA, CHUKOTKA PENINSULA

A review of seasonal distribution and migrations of beluga whales in the Pacific sector of Arctic is provided on the base of author's observations and literature data. It is demonstrated that beluga whales spend winter mainly in the Western Bering Sea near airholes and cracks in thick ice or divorced ices. There are no spatial segregation of different white whale stocks wintering in the Bering Sea revealed. It is found that on wintering the whales migrated northward mainly in the west part of the Bering Sea and across the Bering Strait to the North-Western coast of Alaska. In summer season beluga whales were rare in Chukotka peninsula coastal zone of the Bering and the Chukchi Seas. Aside of beluga whales who leaved for high latitudes for summer feeding, there were groups (stocks or populations) of the animals, stayed in the Bering Sea. These groups did not undertake distant migrations and were feeding in the bays and estuaries of large rivers of the Bering Sea. Such observations can confirm hypothesis about two ecological forms of beluga whales occurring in the Pacific sector of the Arctic. In the Chukchi Sea during fall time beluga whales mainly undertake autumn migrations to the northern shore of Chukotka peninsula and then to the Bering Strait. In the Northern Bering Sea they form temporary concentrations in area between the capes Peek - Litke - Nunyamo from which in large stocks redistribute to the South direction.

At present, there is an increasing interest in all-weather loads on vulnerable Arctic environmental studies of the Arctic, which is becoming a system.

particularly relevant in connection with the activation of the Belukha reconnaissance - a typical, numerous offshore oil and gas offshore and intensification of the relatively poorly studied component of the fauna of Russian shipping along the Northern Sea Route, the Russian part of the Pacific sector of the Arctic. in connection with which we can expect an increase in anthro- These animals inhabit seasonal

ice water of the Arctic and Subarctic. Despite thousands of years of fishing experience and almost a hundred-year history of research, scientific information on the distribution and migration of beluga whales remains scarce and fragmented. It is now known that belugas of all populations spend the winter in the Bering Sea. After wintering, most animals migrate north: to the Beaufort Sea, its bays and the estuary of the river. Mackenzie At the same time, some of the beluga whale populations remain in the Bering Sea - in estuaries of large rivers and in bays (Seaman, Burns, 1981, Frost, Lowry, 1990, Melnikov et al., 2001).

This study is based on long-term observations from the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula. This information in its volume and time coverage exceeds the currently available scattered information in the literature.

Purpose of work: based on our own data and available literary information, consider the seasonal distribution, migration, and abundance of belugas in the coastal waters of the Chukotka Peninsula.

MATERIAL AND METHODOLOGY The research methods used in this work have been repeatedly described previously (Melnikov et al., 1997, Melnikov, 1998, Melnikov, 2000a, 20006, 2013). In some years, up to 30 observers from 14 villages and 7 fishing bases, as well as from capes and geographical points located on the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, conducted work (Fig. 1, Table 1). During the period of fishing, animals were recorded from motor boats and whaleboats. The most extensive research efforts were applied in 1994-1996, and then in 2000, 2002 and 2003.

A specific observation during the day period, under conditions of acceptable visibility, is considered as a statistical unit, without determining its duration. In the analysis, the data obtained were normalized to this unit (the number of whales / number of observations is the SCC index, that is, the number of whales per research effort).

When constructing averaged charts of beluga migration, standard deviation (STDV) and

18 (Р0'0 " У 175 ° 0'0" 1У 17 (УШ№

Fig. 1. The research area. Circles indicate the observation points from which marine mammals were observed.

standard error ^ TM) was not calculated due to the small number of data obtained on a specific date.

For the purpose of mutual control, several independent observers worked in most villages and a number of nearby areas. To reduce individual errors and random deviations, the data obtained from all observers from one region were averaged. Due to differences in hydrological conditions, the analysis

The available information was conducted in the following three areas:

- северное прибрежье Чукотского полуострова, включая юго-западные воды Чукотского моря,

- the eastern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, including the extreme northwestern waters of the Bering Sea adjacent to the Bering Strait,

- The southern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, including the waters of the northern part of the Anadyr Gulf.

Table 1. Duration of work in the coastal waters of the Chukotka Peninsula

Number of Start-End- Total days Total hours

Years of observation

Givers Bot Bot Dénia Dénia

1993 5 05.05 30.11 589 2546

1994 26 01.04 27.12 4180 27 790

1995 28 01.06 31.12 5288 41 380

1996 30 10.01 30.11 5537 43 300

1998 9 01.04 30.12 1516 5755

1999 19 01.04 30.11 3318 19 251

2000 20 01.04 30.12 4300 23 236

2002 29 01.03 30.11 4674 24 646

2003 29 01.03 28.11 4262 21 887

2004 9 01.04 28.12 662 3432

2005 20 01.04 26.09 1512 7155

2010 2 28.05 30.11 120 483

2011 3 18.05 28.11 145 708

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Winter distribution of beluga whales

In January-March, beluga whales regularly occur in the western part of the Bering Strait (Melnikov, 1998, Melshkou et al., 2001). Most of the animals were kept in wormwood and water among the fields of broken ice, which is very mobile here and almost never freezes. Sometimes they were seen near the coastline or in wormwood among the fields of Nilas. Often, white whales dived under fast ice, where the cod (Boreogadus saida) was kept in bulk. In this case, no stable direction of movement of the beluga whales was observed.

Fig. 2. Meet belugas in the coastal waters of the Chukotka Peninsula in January-March 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, and 2003.

In winter, the beluga whale kept in the northern part of the Anadyr Gulf. In the composition of small and medium groups, up to 100 animals were found in streams and wormwoods beyond the fast ice edge. Larger groups were rarely recorded. Herds of 100-200 belugas were recorded on February 13, 1995 near the village of Sireniki and February 16, 1995 near the village of Nunligran. In January 1996, a large school of beluga whales (up to 3,000 animals) entered the bay. Transfiguration.

The majority (56.4%) of beluga whales were kept in near-ice cracks and streaks among solid ice. Among the ice with a coating of 60-80% were 17.7% of individuals, with a coating of 40-60% - 12%. In ice with a concentration of 20% or less - 13.9% (Table 2).

Spring migration After wintering in the Bering Sea, belugas migrate in the direction of the Bering Strait and further, with a chain of wormwood along the coast of Northwest Alaska (Moore and Clarke, 1993).

According to our data, spring migration in the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula begins in

April In April 1994-2003 observers recorded belugas from all villages located on the southern and eastern coasts of the Chukchi Peninsula. In the northern part of the Anadyr Bay, belugas were the most numerous, especially in the area of ​​the village of Sireniki (Cape Yakun). Here they saw, on average for all years, 1.7 individuals per observation. In the western part of the Anadyr Bay - only 0.5 individuals. This indicates that most belugas approach the southeast coast of Chukotka from the south.

In April, belugas are common off the eastern coast of the Chukotka Peninsula, where they are regularly seen in the divergences beyond the coastal ice landfast ice in the area of ​​Cape Nunyamo, Kriguigun, near the bays of Lawrence and Mechigmensky. Their movement in the north direction is noticeable along the fast ice edge. The number of animals observed here, apparently, depended on the development of zaprypnaya wormwood and breeding, since in the years with the presence of extensive wormwood more belugas migrated. In April, the largest number

Table 2. Beluga whales in January-March, depending on ice conditions

Indicators Ice coverage,%

80-100 60-80 40-60 20-40 0-20

The number of observations 31 11 8 6 6

Minimum 1 1 1 24 8

Maximum 200 150 100 50 50

Average follow-up (OSI index) 49.5 43.7 40.8 32.3 30.8

Art. deviation 47.7 42.7 41.5 8.9 16.5

Art. error 8.5 12.8 14.6 3.6 6.7

Amount 1536 481 327 194 185

% 56.4 17.7 12.0 7.1 6.8

Fig. 3. Distribution of beluga whales in the coastal waters of the Chukchi Peninsula during the spring migration of 2002 - season with typical ice conditions, A - distribution of belugas in April, B - in May

Beluga whales were recorded in the western part of the Bering Strait, in the area of ​​Cape Dezhnev and Peek. Animals moved in small and medium groups - up to 50 goals. Among adults, observers recorded a significant number of yearlings. Cases of approaches of belugas to this region from the open part of the sea, diving under ice of coastal landfast ice, apparently for feeding, were noted. Animals moved mainly to the north, but sometimes in the opposite (south) direction (Melnikov, 1998). On average, for all years 41.8 individuals were taken into account here per observation, which is 3.9 times more than in the area of ​​Sireniki, this indicates the approach of belugas not only from the southern directions, but also from the open part of the sea.

In April, no belugas were seen off the northern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula. 30 km west of the Bering Strait, in the area of ​​Inchon settlement, only 3 groups were registered in landlocked cracks and stains, with up to 10 animals. From Uelen, located at the northwestern entrance to the Bering Strait, only 8 groups are taken into account.

In the northeastern part of the Anadyr Bay, belugas migrated until the beginning of the third decade of May. During this period, they went in the composition of small and medium groups, numbering from several individuals to several hundred heads. The maximum number of migrating schools was determined at 500 goals. In the vast majority of cases, at the exit from the north-eastern part of the Anadyr Bay, animals moved along the coast to the east, which coincides with the movement in the direction of the Bering Strait. Here the belugas migrated to the “two waves”. The first wave took place in April, with a peak in the middle of the month, the second and last wave of spring migration took place mainly from the end of April to May 20.

Off the east coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, spring migration gradually faded. As well as at the exit from the Anadyr Gulf, the animals moved in pan-ice polynyas and scoops among the fields of broken ice in small and medium groups, numbering up to 100-150 heads.

In the area of ​​the Bering Strait, near Cape Dezhnev and Peek, steady movement of belugas in the north was determined only in May, when groups of several heads to several dozens moved almost daily along the edge of the ice fast ice to the north. By the end of May, spring migration gradually subsided. In 1994, the migration of small groups continued until June 15. In 1995, the last groups of belugas passed northward on May 28.

Beluga whale distribution in summer

Our observations indicate that in the summer, off the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, beluga whales are almost completely absent both in the Bering Sea and in the Chukchi Sea, where they saw almost exclusively solitary animals and microgroups. In summer, belugas were recorded predominantly at the exit from the Bay of the Cross and in the area adjacent to it. Here, in the region of the villages of Huel-kal and Enmelen, in July-August they were seen as

Fig. 4. Dynamics of spring migration of belugas in the area of ​​the village. Lilacs, at the exit from the north-eastern part of the Anadyr Bay (average values ​​for 1994-2003)

Fig. 5. Dynamics of spring migration of belugas in the waters of the eastern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula according to the results of observations in 1994-2003.

nocturnal animals and small groups of up to 40 animals. Large schools of 100 individuals or more were not found. The KVI index of beluga whales in this region turned out to be two orders of magnitude higher than that of the rest of the Chukchi Peninsula (Fig. 6, Table 3).

Beluga distribution during autumn migration

Autumn migration of belugas in the waters of the northern coast of the Chukotka Peninsula with more or less intensity occurred annually before the formation of the ice cover. In the area of ​​Cape Netten and Heart-Stone

Fig. 6. Meetings of beluga whales in the coastal waters of the Chukchi Peninsula in July-August 1994-1996 and 2003-2004.

Table 3. Meetings of belugas in the coastal waters of the Chukchi Peninsula in July-August 1994-1996 and 2003-2004.

North and east coasts

District Hall. Cross (Welkal-Enmelen)

Exit the hall. Cross (Welkal)

On average for observation (SCC index) Art. deviation of Art. error

Beluga whales taken into account_

0,006 0,131 0,002 34

40 0,13 1,94 0,07 103

40 0,3 4,7 0,42 75

in the years with the late formation of ice, belugas migrated in October-November (Figs. 7, 8). In the years with the early formation of ice (1990, 1994, 1998), there was no beluga here in the fall.

In the years with the late formation of ice, beluga whales traveled most intensively in the third decade of November. In the western part of the Chukchi Sea, autumn migration ended before the formation of a cohesive ice cover, before the freezing of wormwood, streaks and cracks.

In the area of ​​the village. Neshkan, located at the southern entrance to the Kolyuchinskaya Bay, just 60 km west of Cape Heart-Kamen, belugas have not been seen for all years of observation. Own observations and survey data show that they are rare to the west of the Kolyuchinskaya Bay. Only once (October 24, 2003) were 40 individuals recorded at Cape Vankarem, at the eastern exit of Long Strait.

At Cape Inchon and Uelen, located at the entrance to the northwestern part of the Bering Strait

wa, in autumn belugas migrated annually. In most cases, they moved east into the strait. Only on certain days was the movement of groups in the opposite, western direction. Beluga whale appeared in massive quantities in November (Fig. 7, 9). During migration, animals formed schools of up to 1000 heads or more. Such jambs consisted of microgroups of one to two adult individuals and one to three young. Sometimes, both adults and young animals walked separately. In 1991, young animals accounted for approximately 30% of the total number of animals. In the fall of 1991, we took into account about 2,000 beluga whales passing through the Bering Strait (Melnikov and Bobkov, 1992).

A comparison of the autumn migration charts in the western part of the Chukchi Sea and the migration at the entrance to the Bering Strait shows that at the entrance to the Bering Strait migration proceeds at the same time and with the same intensity as in the western part of the Chukchi Sea (Fig. 8, 9) . In the area of ​​Cape Netten, up to 1000 individuals were recorded, an average of 416.7 per

observation, at the entrance to the Bering Strait, up to 1000 were also taken into account, but on average 375.0 individuals.

In the Bering Sea, off the east coast of Chukotka, the intensity of autumn migration decreases as you move south. Every fall, belugas are in the bays of Lawrence, Mechigmensky and at the northern entrance to the strait. Senyavin. Large jambs were recorded in these areas, up to 3 thousand.

goals We saw such a grouping in 1991 in the bay. Dezhnev (Melnikov, Bobkov, 1992). Shoals of 300-500 animals entered the Gulf of Lawrence. About 2300 individuals were observed on November 24, 1995 at the northern entrance to the strait. Senyavin. Sometimes large schools of beluga whales entered the strait. Here, in December 1984, 2500-3000 individuals were locked by drifting ice (Mymrin, 2006), and in

Fig. 7. Encounters of beluga whales in the coastal waters of the Chukchi Peninsula during the autumn migration of 1995, a year with the late formation of ice. A - November 1-15, B - November 16-30, C - December 1-15, D - December 16-31

Fig. 8. The average long-term dynamics of the autumn migration of beluga whales and the formation of ice in the western part of the Chukchi Sea (the area of ​​Cape Netten and Heart-Stone) in 1990-2003.

Ts 500t Belukha - Ice

Fig. 9. The average long-term dynamics of the autumn migration of beluga whales and the formation of ice at the entrance to the Bering Strait (the region of the villages of Inchon – Uelen) in 19942003.

2011 - about 100 animals (Zagrebin, 2012). Large shoals of beluga whales passed in the fall and into the Anadyr Gulf. In the area of ​​Sireniki, migratory animals, numbering up to 500 animals, were seen annually in November-December. The passage of large groups of beluga whales, numbering 1000 and 2000 animals, was registered on November 12, 1994 and December 16, 1995 in the area of ​​metro Acchen.

So, the analysis of the obtained data shows that in the spring in the study area the migratory activity of belugas develops only in the southern and eastern coasts of the Chukchi Peninsula. Animals migrate the western part of the Bering Sea to the Bering Strait and further, in the direction of Northwest Alaska. In the northern coast of Chukotka, spring migration of belugas is not recorded. In the spring, only occasionally did these animals penetrate to Cape Inchon. A sharp decrease in the number of belugas migrating west of the Bering Strait indicates that they are heading towards the coast of Alaska. In the summer, belugas are found mainly in the extreme, northwestern part of the Anadyr Gulf. Along the rest of the Chukchi Peninsula, both in the Bering Sea and in the Chukchi Peninsula, they are only a few. In autumn, in the Chukchi Sea, white whales migrate on a wide front from the ice edge towards the northern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula and further along it, in the direction of the Bering Strait. After the passage of Cape Dezhnev, in the northern part of the Bering Sea, belugas form temporary concentrations in the area of ​​Cape Peek-Litke-Nunyamo, from where they are redistributed to the south as part of large schools. Some belugas run along the eastern coast of Chukotka in the direction of the Anadyr Gulf.

In recent decades, significant progress has been made in studies of beluga whales (Belikov et al., 1986, 1989, 2002, Moore, Clarke, 1993, Richard et al., 1998a, Moore et al., 2000, Martin et al., 2001, Suy- dam et al., 2001). However, for a long time almost nothing was known about the life of the beluga whale. A cartographic analysis of our own and available literature data shows that several major beluga wintering areas are distinguished in the Bering Sea.

First of all, this is the area of ​​metro Navarin. The winter habitation of belugas here is apparently caused by the presence of cod aggregations, spawning aggregations of polar cod and young pollock (Fadeev, 1990, Makoedov et al., 1999). Other wintering areas for beluga whales in the Bering Sea are strata and cracks among the solid ice in the eastern part of the Anadyr Gulf, as well as the waters of the eastern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, including the western part of the Bering Strait. In winter, an “ice conveyor” operates on the leeward side of the coast and prominent capes, and ice is carried away by the prevailing winds into the open part of the Bering Sea. Here, in the shallow water, cod spawning, forming spawning clusters (Makoedov et al., 1999). An important wintering area for beluga whales in the Bering Sea is also the scoops and ice discharges formed on the southern leeward side of Fr. St. Lawrence and Fr. St. Matthew. Belugas, sometimes found in winter in the Bristol and Norton bays, most likely belong to the animals of the Bristol Bay and the Yukon Delta (Frost and Lowry, 1990). The spatial segregation of animals of various populations (herds) of beluga whales wintering in the Bering Sea is not visible.

It can be concluded that all or almost all belugas of the Pacific sector of the Arctic spend the winter in the Bering Sea, where they are kept in divorces

shto-ig 175 ° 0'0 " U PORSHU

Fig. 10. A summary map of the distribution of beluga whales in January-March, according to our and published data (Leatherwood et al., 1983, 1986, Brueggeman, Gшtefend, 1986, Berzin, 1996). Each point corresponds to the place of registration of one or more belugas. Dark icons are our data, light icons are literature data.

and cracks among ice fields, in areas of spawning aggregations of polar cod, pollock, cod and other fish.

In the Chukchi Sea, off the Russian coast, beluga whales occur only in January and only at the entrance to the Bering Strait (Uelen settlement) during the late formation of ice. The winter stay of belugas in the area of ​​Cape Heart-Stone is not confirmed (Kleinenberg et al., 1964). For the entire observation period, from 1990 to 2004, during the winter period, beluga was not seen here. They also did not see it during ice reconnaissance (Belikov et al., 2002). The report of the capture of beluga whales in winter in the near-ice wormwood in the Kolyuchinskaya Bay of the Chukchi Sea, apparently, should be regarded as an error. In the work of M.A. Sergeyev's The Kamchatka Territory (Sergeev, 1934), to which G.A. Fedoseev (Fedoseev, 1986), we did not find information about the capture of belugas in the Kolyuchinskaya Bay. In our opinion, beluga whales are unlikely to inhabit the northern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula in winter. During the formation of ice, these waters are very dangerous due to the risk of falling into an ice trap. In winter, there is solid ice and there are no zaprypaynye streaks. Nevertheless, in the Alaskan (eastern) part of the Chukchi Sea, where pan-pollen wormwoods are present, beluga whales can winter. In January-February, beluga whales were seen by the residents of Point Hope, Shishmarev, Wales and Diomede. They suggest the possibility of wintering for belugas in the northern part of the Chukchi Sea and even in the Beaufort Sea (Frost and Lowry, 1990).

For a long time, the spring distribution of belugas in the western Bering Sea was known only from fragmentary information in early publications. So, P.G. Nikulin (1946) pointed to a meeting of 23 and 37 belugas in April-May 1939 S.E. Kleinenberg et al. (1964), according to the results of the survey, noted that in May-June, shoals of belugas of 15–20 heads were found in the village. Pinakul (Gulf of Lawrence). The authors also reported that in the area of ​​bays. Providence On May 15, 1957, 12 belugas were obtained, and that an employee of the Magadan branch of TINRO saw 10 belugas on May 28, 1961 between the belts. Providence and Fr. Arakamchechen. Later S.E. Belikov and his colleagues, according to ice air reconnaissance data, have published distribution maps and a table with the coordinates of beluga whales in the seas of the Soviet Arctic, including the Bering Sea. The authors reported that in the eastern and southeastern parts of the Chukchi Sea, as well as in

north of the Bering Sea and Anadyr Bay in April 1978, 1979 and 1981.groups of up to several dozen individuals were noted (Belikov et al., 1989). G.A. Fedoseyev (1986), without indicating the source, reported that spring migration from the Bering Sea to the Eastern Arctic began from the second half of May and June. A.A. Berzin et al. (1996) provided information on the meeting of more than 20 belugas with cubs on April 8, 1984 on a tack of 178 ° z. d. east and southeast of the metro. Navarin. Animals were scattered among the solid ice. G. Simen and J. Burns (Seaman, Burns, 1981), without indicating a source, reported that in May-June beluga whales are found throughout the northern part of the Bering Sea, in most cases near the coast. Off the Siberian coasts in the Karagin Bay and coastal waters, from Cape Navarin to Cape Vostochny (Dezhneva). Several meetings were at Cape Shelagsky (East Siberian Sea).

In the waters of Western Alaska, beluga whales occur along the entire coast. In the Bering Sea, belugas are seen in Bristol Bay and Norton Bay. In the Chukchi Sea - off the coast of Northwest Alaska, most meetings are in the area from the hall. Kotzebue to the Beaufort Sea, north of Barrow. The largest part of the population at the end of June migrates to the north, to the Chukchi Sea and to the western part of the Beaufort Sea (Seaman, Burns, 1981). In the Norton Bay, off the coast of the estuary of the Yukon and Kuskokvim rivers, the first beluga whales were seen in late April and early May, shortly after the discharge of fast ice (Frost and Lowry, 1990).

The most extensive information on the spring distribution and migration of belugas in the northern part of the Bering Sea, the eastern part of the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea was obtained in passing - during studies of the distribution of bowhead whales in 1980-1992. (Moore, Clarke, 1993). According to these data, beluga whales were relatively stable in the Bering Sea from April to the end of May, with a peak of encounters in mid-May. In the eastern part of the Chukchi Sea, beluga whales, like polar whales, migrate north along the northwestern coast of Alaska using a chain of inscribed wormwood. Further, in the Beaufort Sea, east of Cape Barrow, belugas were seen, beginning in mid-May, with a peak of meetings at the end of the month, in scoops and wormwoods located far from the coast, along 71 ° 30 '(Fig. 11, 12) .

Thus, an analysis of our own and published data shows that belugas migrating to the Arctic Ocean after wintering in the Bering Sea go mainly in its western part, through the Bering Strait in the direction of the northwestern coast of Alaska and further along it, encircling Cape Barrow, to Canadian part of the Beaufort Sea.

Literary information about the summer distribution of belugas in the Russian part of the Bering and Chukchi Seas is extremely scarce. There are reports of their individual meetings with Fr. Wrangel and Cape Heart-Stone (Kleinenberg et al., 1964). By A.G. Tomilin (1957), in the ice years, beluga whale is found in the area of ​​Cape Schmidt and is numerous in the Kolyuchinskaya Bay. In the Bering Sea in the summer, it is held annually in the Anadyr estuary (Kleinenberg et al., 1964, Litovka, 2002). According to ice reconnaissance, in the Chukchi Sea, there are few encounters of belugas in the summer. In August and September in most cases they were seen along the ice edge in the northern part of the Chukchi Sea. In the western part of the Chukchi Sea, the only meeting of beluga whales was recorded in August 1974. From June to August, beluga whales were found in the area of ​​the Novosibirsk Islands, and in June and September, beyond the ice edge, at high latitudes, north and east of Wrangel Island (Belikov et al. , 1984, 2002).

Our observations indicate that in the summer, with the exception of individual encounters of single and microgroups, beluga whales are almost completely absent in the coastal zone of the Chukchi Peninsula, both in the Chukchi Sea and in the Bering Sea. On average, they were seen two orders of magnitude less observed here than at the exit from the hall. Cross (table. 3, Fig. 6).

In the Chukchi Sea, beluga whales annually occur off the northwestern coast of Alaska. This group is isolated in a separate East Chukchi herd (Frost, Lowry, 1990, O'Corry-Crowe, 2002). Until recently, information about these

animals were based only on a short observation period in June-July. At this time, beluga whales were found off the coast of the eastern part

^ & 0rj0'0, rN * 1 • 101-3U0

1 B0. Ü'0 "WI? 5C, 0'0" W 170a0'0 "w 165" (WW 160D0'0 "W Fig. 11. Summary map of the distribution of beluga whales in April according to their own and published data (Brueggeman et al., 1984, Belikov et al., 1989, Moore, Clarke, 1993, Berzin et al., 1996) Dark icons are our data, gray icons are literature data.

Fig. 12. A summary map of the distribution of belugas in May, according to their own and published data (Brueggeman et al., 1984, Belikov et al., 1989, Moore, Clarke 1993). Dark icons - our data, gray - literature data

Chukchi Sea (Frost, Lowry, 1990), but more often - in the hall. Kotzebue and the lag area. Kasegaluk. To the hall. They visited co-cebu in June (not annually) and only occasionally in July-August (Frost and Lowry, 1990). To the lag area. Kasegaluk animals came every year, in late June or early July (Frost, Lowry, 1990, Huntington, Communities of Buckland, 1999). The most recent registration of belugas near the lag. Kasegaluk - from mid to late July. After the ice left the coast, from late July to October, almost no belugas were found in the eastern part of the Chukchi Sea (Frost and Lowry, 1990).

Where belugas spend the rest of the year, for a long time it was unknown. According to the results of satellite tagging, it turned out that after tagging in the lag. Kasegaluk all belugas went north. In this case, there was a separation of habitats depending on gender and age. All belugas that have gone north of 75 ° C. w. into the cohesive ice of the Arctic Ocean, were adult males. Heavy ice did not interfere with the movement of adult males. They preferred deep waters, remained in them throughout the summer and often moved among ice with more than 90% coverage. Adult and immature females remained all summer and early autumn in the area of ​​the shelf depth shelf. Immature males migrated north farther than females, but not as far as adult males (Suydam et al., 2001).

Among the belugas of the Pacific sector of the Arctic, the largest population (herd) of belugas is the Mackenzie estuary. From the Bering Sea, these animals leave first of all - in April. In May and early June, their clusters are seen in scattered and wormwood among pack ice and in open water to the west of about. Banks and the hall. Amundsen. Six weeks after the appearance, at the end of June, belugas migrate to the Mackenzie estuary. Their numbers remain high throughout July and reach 7,000 animals (Fraker, 1980). Periodically, part of the animals leave the places of accumulations in the estuary and move to open waters to the north, apparently for food, then return. Some studies have shown that belugas can visit the hall before migrating west. Amundsen. Some of them also occur in the extreme northeast of Alaska (Fraker, 1980). In early August, the number of these animals in the McKenzie estuary begins to decline.

In August and later, summer beluga habitats from the eastern part of the Chukchi Sea and from the Beaufort Sea overlap. These belugas are found among perennial ice in the same areas. The significance of overlapping areals of these two populations (herds or groups) is not clear. A study of mitochondrial DNA showed that there are some genetic differences between them (O'Corry-Crowe, Lowry, 1997; O'Corry-Crowe, 2002).

According to ice aerial reconnaissance data, in the Russian sector, in the summer, beluga whales were found in the eastern part of the East Siberian Sea, were absent in its middle and western parts, then they were again singly met in the east of the Laptev Sea, near the Novosibirsk Islands (Belikov et al., 1984, 2002). S.E. Belikov et al. (1984, 2002) confirm the validity of the isolation of two separate populations in the Russian Arctic - the Kara and Bering Sea (Geptner et al., 1976). The authors believe that the Aion ice massif, consisting of close-knit ice with a significant presence of perennial ice (Belikov et al., 2002), is a barrier to the westward migration of belugas. It should be noted that, according to the results of satellite tagging, cohesive massifs of drifting ice are not a serious obstacle for belugas.

Along with beluga whales, which go to high latitudes for summer feeding, there are groups (herds, populations) that do not leave the Bering Sea. The distribution of belugas remaining in the Bering Sea for the summer and feeding in the bays and estuaries of large rivers in the summer off the coast of Western Alaska was used to distinguish two temporary groups (herds). Distinguish between the Bristol group, which lives in the bay of the same name in summer, and the East Bering Sea, walking in the hall. Norton and the Yukon Delta (Seaman et al., 1986, Frost, Lowry, 1990).

In the Gulf of Bristol, in its northern part (Nuchagak Bay), belugas are most seen from mid-April to mid-June. From the end of June to the end of July, most of them occur in the southern part of the Gulf of Bristol (Qui Chuck Bay) (Frost and Lowry, 1990).

In the area of ​​the hall. Beluga whales regularly see Norton and the Yukon deltas from spring until ice began to form in November. In May-June, animals hold

on clusters of spawning herring and capelin in the coastal waters of the hall. Norton. In June-August they go to the mouth of the river. Yukon to feed salmon, and then return to the coastal area of ​​the hall. Norton for saffron cod (Seaman et al., 1986). Sometimes belugas rise along the river over long distances, up to 130 km from the mouth.

Studies of mitochondrial DNA have confirmed the existence of genetic differences between the Bristol and East Bering Sea groups (O'Corry-Crowe, Lowry, 1997). Whether they reach the level of interpopulation is not yet clear.

On the Russian side of the Bering Sea, in the Anadyr estuary and r. Anadyr, in the summer a separate group of belugas lives. Despite the fact that a significant part of the summer range of this beluga whale is located within the city of Anadyr, its biology has long remained poorly studied, and information about it was extremely general (Vinogradov, 1949, Kleinenberg et al., 1964). In the last decade, a significant contribution to the research of the Anadyr beluga whale was made by the employees of ChukotTINRO and the Institute of Oceanology named after P.P. Shirshova (Kirillova, Belkovich, 2000, Litovka, 2002, Litovka et al., 2002, 2006). According to these data, in the Anadyr estuary, belugas appear immediately after the ice has melted and remain until mid-October. In the summer, they were met at the mouths of large and medium rivers. In the river Anadyr animals were recorded 275 km from the mouth. By its tributaries - in the river. Great - more than 100 km in the river. Kanchalan - 45 km, in the river. Autotkul - 20 km from the mouth. The feeding periods for belugas in the Anadyr Estuary basin were 5 months: from early June to mid November. Beluga whales marked with satellite marks in the Anadyr estuary in early November passed along the coast of the northwestern part of the Anadyr Gulf to the Gulf of the Cross, from where they gradually moved to the area of ​​Cape Navarin with the approach of winter. This indicates that belugas whiting in the summer in the Anadyr estuary and in the western part of the Anadyr bay, including the hall. The cross, apparently, belongs to one population.

For a long time, almost no information was available on the autumn routes of beluga whales in the Pacific sector of the Arctic. Only the dates of their migrations from the southeastern part of the Beaufort Sea were known, and there were several detections of belugas migrating to the west at about. Herscheld in

area of ​​Barrow Creek and near the ice edge (Johnson, 1979, Hazard, 1988). The ways of autumn migration were judged more by where there are no belugas than by their meetings. M. Fraker (Fraker, 1980) stated that the autumn migration of beluga whales has not been studied.

A series of accompanying studies related to the study of walruses and bowhead whales (Clarke and Moore, 1993) clarified the situation somewhat and showed that the autumn migration of most belugas to the Beaufort Sea and the Chukchi Sea takes place at the ice edge far from the coast. In the 80s. it was confirmed that belugas from the coastal regions of East Alaska and Canada migrate first to the north, to the ice edge, then turn west, cross the Beaufort Sea along the edge, and then turn southwest to the Chukchi Sea. The peak of autumn migration of belugas from the Beaufort Sea to the Chukchi Sea occurred in October (Ray et al., 1984, Hazard, 1988).

Satellite marking showed that autumn migration of belugas from the eastern part of the Beaufort Sea to the west begins in late August - early September (Richard et al., 1998a, Richard et al., 1998b, Richard et al., 2001). The routes of animals tagged in the Mackenzie estuary in September ran westward along the slope of the depths of the continental shelf, far from the shores of Alaska. At the same time, some of them migrated far to the north, about 75 ° C. sh., through pack ice. The importance of the fall of the depths during the autumn migration period was also confirmed by aviation research (Moore, 2000). In some areas of the Beaufort Sea, belugas sometimes lingered for a period of several days to a month, possibly for feeding (Richard et al., 1998a, 1998b). After leaving the Beaufort Sea, some belugas migrated to the northwestern region of the Chukchi Sea. Before heading south to the Bering Strait, they stayed for about a week in the area of ​​the Herald Trench (Richard et al., 1998a and 1998b). Beluga whales tagged in the eastern part of the Chukchi Sea began autumn migration much later than animals from the eastern part of the Beaufort Sea in October or November (Suydam et al., 2001).

According to the data of ice reconnaissance, in September, in the western part of the Chukchi Sea, beluga whales single-handedly and in small groups were found mainly near the ice edge, mainly north-northeast of Fr. Wrangel. To Berin

They began to migrate to the strait in October (Belikov et al., 1984, 2002). This month they were sometimes seen in the East Siberian Sea and in the west of the Chukchi Sea. A herd of belugas with about 500 animals was seen by G.A. Fedoseev (Fedoseev, 1966) October 10, 1960 to the north of 72 ° C. sh., on the beam of Wrangel Island. Beluga whales moved in a sludge east. The whole herd stretched for 25-30 km and consisted of separate small groups, 3-4 animals in each. Single animals were recorded in the Long Strait and in the coastal zone, from the mouth of the river. Kolyma to Chaunskaya Bay. Without indicating the source, it was reported that in September 1959 a huge school of beluga whales was found west of Cape Schmidt, and single whales were seen in the Long Strait.

According to the results of our work, it was established that in the Chukchi Sea, belugas migrate mainly in the direction of the northern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula and further along it, in the direction of the Bering Strait. In the northern part of the Bering Sea, they form temporary concentrations in the area of ​​the metro Peek-Litke-Nunyamo, from where they are redistributed to the south as part of large shoals. Some belugas run along the eastern coast of Chukotka in the direction of the Anadyr Gulf.

Currently, the total abundance of belugas in the Pacific sector of the Arctic reaches 15,000–18,000 individuals (Hazard, 1988). In this case, 2500-3000 belugas are associated with the coast of the Chukchi Sea, from the hall. Kotzebue to Cape Barrow, and 11,500 to the Beaufort Sea. The abundance of the East Bering Sea herd of beluga whales is estimated at 1000-2000 heads (Frost, Lowry, 1990). The abundance of beluga whales in the Gulf of Bristol has been stably low for several decades at about 1000 individuals (Lowry et al., 1986).

From a general estimate of the abundance of belugas, animals fell out whose feeding range is associated with the Anadyr estuary, p. Anadyr and the hall. Cross, where about 3,000 individuals are fattened in the summer (Litovka, 2002). Thus, according to the available literature, about 19,000–20,500 belugas live in the Pacific sector of the Arctic.

To summarize, we propose the following pattern of seasonal distribution and migration of beluga whales of the Pacific sector of the Arctic. It has been established that all or almost all belugas spend the winter period in the Bering Sea, where they are kept in streaks and cracks among the ice fields, in areas

Fig. 13. Scheme of seasonal distribution and migration of belugas of the Bering Sea. Shading indicates summer habitats, gray indicates wintering areas

spawning aggregations of polar cod, pollock, cod and other fish.

In spring, part of the beluga whales from the Bering Sea migrate to the Arctic Ocean and its marginal seas. In the Bering Sea, belugas migrate its western part. After the passage of the Anadyr Gulf, they go through the strait, between St. Lawrence Island and the mainland, then to the Bering Strait. After its passage, belugas go to Northwestern Alaska and then, to the north, go by a chain of inscribed wormwood. After Cape Barrow, as well as polar whales, beluga whales move in the area of ​​cracks and distributions of the anticyclonal arctic drift in the Beaufort Sea and further into the bays of the Canadian Arctic. Later this group forms a cluster in the estuary of the river. Mackenzie, from where it is redistributed to the high latitudes of the Beaufort Sea. Another group leaves the Bering Sea in April-May. In June-July, animals form temporary concentrations in the lagoon region of North-West Alaska, and by August go to high latitudes, where they mix with belugas from the Mackenzie group. In the autumn period, all belugas go with a broad front to the north-east coast of the Chukchi Peninsula and to the Bering Strait.After the passage of the strait, most animals move southward without approaching the shores. Part of the jambs goes along the eastern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula and enters the Anadyr Bay.

In addition to belugas migrating to high latitudes, there are groups that do not perform long-distance migrations and walk in the bays and estuaries of large rivers in the Bering Sea. This confirms the assumption of G.A. Fedoseeva (1986) about the existence of two ecological forms of beluga whales in the Pacific sector of the Arctic. The migratory form makes long and long migrations to the Arctic Ocean and its marginal seas. The settled form remains in the Bering Sea and does not make long-distance migrations, only migrating from wintering areas to estuaries of large rivers and bays.

According to literature data, the total number of belugas in the Pacific sector of the Arctic reaches 15,000-18,000 individuals. From a general estimate of the abundance of belugas, animals fell out whose feeding range is associated with the Anadyr estuary, p. Anadyr and the hall. Cross, where about 3,000 are fattened in summer

hit. Thus, about 19 000-20 500 belugas live in the Pacific sector of the Arctic.

The author is grateful to the Department of Wildlife Management North Slope Borough for many years of support for joint research, as well as M.A. Zelensky, G.M. Zelensky, L.I. Ainana, E.V. Zdor and all observers of Chukotka, who conducted observations of marine mammals, whose work yielded the stated results.

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Description of the beluga whale

Beluga whale is a large marine animal. The body length of males reaches 6 m, sometimes weighing about 2 tons. The average weight of the male is 1.5 tons. The females are slightly smaller: up to 5 m in length, with a maximum weight of up to 1.5 tons. Adult polar dolphins are painted white, which caused their name to appear. Newborn cubs are distinguished by a dark blue or blue-black color, which gradually turns pale, becomes grayish, then pale blue. The blueness completely disappears at the age of 4-5 years, and the animal becomes completely white.

Belugas are characterized by a small head with a characteristic frontal protrusion, like other dolphins, but this species does not have a beak. The beluga’s ability to rotate its head, turn it up, down and to the side is noteworthy. This is due to the high mobility of the cervical vertebrae, which are not fused, as in similar species, but are separated by a cartilaginous layer. Also, polar dolphins have well-developed muzzle muscles. Beluga easily changes its expression, expressing joy, sadness, and even indifference and contempt.

The animal has wide pectoral fins, small in comparison with the body, a powerful tail. The dorsal fin is absent. The skin is very durable, heat-insulating, with a thickness of about 2 cm. Under the skin is a thick layer of fat (about 15 cm), which is necessary for beluga whales to protect internal organs from the polar cold.

Dolphin speed reaches 10 km / h. In case of danger, it can reach 25 km / h. Beluga can swim on its back and back. Dives to a depth of about 300 m, can withstand 15 minutes without air.

Features of Beluga whale feeding

Beluga feeds on fish, mainly schooling: capelin, cod, polar cod, herring, Far Eastern navaga, flounder, whitefish and salmon species. Occasionally includes crustaceans and cephalopods in its diet. Prey is usually not enough, but sucks. A daily adult beluga needs about 15 kg of food. During the hunt, the dolphin enters the large basins of the Yenisei, Lena, Amur, Ob, Khatanga, and can rise upstream for hundreds of kilometers.

Abstract of a scientific article in biological sciences, author of a scientific work - Lukin Leonid Romanovich, Andrianov Victor Vladimirovich

The work reflects the level of knowledge of the spatial structure of the white whale population of the White Sea, including 8 local reproductive herds. The authors' personal contribution to the study of 5 out of 8 White Sea herds is presented. It is shown by the example of the southern local herd that the use of beluga whales as an indicator species of the ecological state of the southern part of the Onega Bay - the water area affected by fuel oil pollution is justified.

WHITE WHALE (DELPHINAPTERUS LEUCAS) AS AN INDICATOR SPECIES OF THE WHITE SEA ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS

The paper reflects the level of knowledge of the spatial structure of the White Sea beluga population consisting of eight local reproductive pods. The authors ’personal contribution to the study of five out of eight White Sea pods is presented. By the example of the southern local pod, we show that whales can be used as an indicator species of the ecological status of the southern part of the Onega Bay, the area affected by an oil spill.

Beluga behavior

Beluga whales are characterized by regular seasonal migration. In spring, the dolphin moves to the shores, to the bays, fjords and estuaries. The summer period is usually spent here, off the coast, as the water here is warmer and more food is found. It is also convenient to molt in such coastal areas: in order to remove the dead surface layers of the skin, beluga rubs in shallow water against pebbles. Beluga whale is generally attached to the same place of flying, and visits it every year. In addition, the dolphin even remembers his birthplace and returns to him after wintering.

In winter, belugas keep at the edge of the ice field, occasionally penetrating far into the zone of glaciation. In case of icing of a large water area, they make a massive wandering to the south. In order for belugas to breathe, wormholes are needed, for this, animals back pierce ice a few centimeters thick. It is during the winter period that especially a lot of dolphins die if the ice becomes too thick or they fall into the “ice captivity”. In addition, polar bears and killer whales prey on them at this time.

Beluga whales migrate in packs that consist of two types of groups. The first groups consist of 1-3 adult females and their cubs. The second includes 8-16 adult males. During the hunt, flocks of beluga whales sometimes consist of hundreds and even thousands of individuals.

Belugas are social creatures. They are capable of making such a variety of sounds that they are even called “sea canaries,” and the combination “roaring beluga” also came from here. Scientists describe about 50 sound signals (whistles, screeching, chirping, screaming, rattle, screaming, roaring). In addition, belugas communicate with each other using body language.

Beluga whale breeding

The breeding season, depending on the region of habitat of the beluga whale, varies from spring to autumn. Males for females arrange real fights. The duration of pregnancy is 14 months. The offspring appears once every 2-3 years. Mating and childbirth take place in coastal areas with warm water. One cub is usually born 140-160 cm long. Milk feeding lasts 1-2 years.

Females reach puberty at the age of 4-7 years, males at 7-9 years. Beluga whale grows up to 9-11 years. After 20 years, females stop giving birth. Life expectancy is 32-40 years.

Natural enemies of the beluga whale

Beluga whales are listed on the IUCN Red List and have the status of a vulnerable species. At the end of the 20th century, there were 30 herds of belugas in the world, with a total number of 100,000-200,000 individuals. Today, the main threat to belugas is not so much intensive fishing as industrial development of the Arctic shelf and pollution of their habitats with various wastes and pesticides.

In nature, belugas have two natural enemies: a polar bear and an killer whale, and land and sea powerful predators. In winter, polar bears prey on belugas near thawed holes and ice holes, where the latter emerge to take a breath. The bear stuns them with its paw, then pulls them out onto the ice and eats them. Orcas attack the beluga whale in the water, and since they swim twice as fast, the dolphin in this case has no chance of salvation.

Interesting facts about beluga whales:

  • The compacted layer of the beluga skin epidermis (thickness up to 15 mm) protects the dolphin from damage from ice. A layer of subcutaneous fat 10-12 cm thick serves as a reliable protection against the cold.
  • Beluga whales are capable of making a wide variety of sounds, as well as ultrasonic clicks. With their help, the dolphin gets a clear idea of ​​the surrounding space.
  • Beluga whale is a very massive, but at the same time dexterous dolphin that can swim on its back and back to front. The average speed of the animal is 3-9 km / h. But with fright, it rises to 22 km / h. Usually, a beluga whale emerges every 1-1.5 minutes; it can stay under water for up to 15 minutes. In shallow water, the dolphin performs virtuoso maneuvers.
  • Beluga tolerates bondage, can be trained. The first time was presented at the circus in Barnum in the 19th century. Belugas can be trained in the delivery of equipment for divers, the search for lost objects, underwater video, which makes them very valuable assistants for people in Arctic exploration.

Natural

Cook Inlet, Alaska

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Churchill River, Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

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