Science News

Baby Beluga Whales Spotted Off The Eastern Coast

Beluga Whale

In a rare series of sightings, three small Beluga whales were repeatedly spotted off of the coast of New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut over the past few weeks.

Experts believe the trio to be made up of three young males because they’re all shorter than eight-feet long. Adult whales typically run between 13-20 feet in length.

Mendy Garron, a marine mammal expert for the Massachusetts-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was quoted by CBS New York as having said on May 23 that it is somewhat rare for beluga whales to be seen in the region, making such a sighting “unique.”

This is the first time we have seen three together, so it’s unique.

The whales, which were first spotted in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay on May 10, showed up on May 23 more than 100 miles west in Manhasset Bay. The area is known for its million-dollar estates and served as the setting for the fictional 1920s novel The Great Gatsby.

Some locals were surprised from what they saw. “You could see a head, it just came up and went back down,” a resident in Manhasset Bay near Port Washington said. Matt Meyran, of Port Washington Water Taxi, was quoted in an ABC Eyewitness News report as having said, “Look at this, right under the boat. And it turns around, it stops, it looks up at me.”

Mallory Nathan, the town of North Hempstead’s chief bay constable, was quoted by CBS New York as having said that he started getting calls about the whales around 6:30 a.m. and when he went to investigate, he found the whales in deeper waters far from shore, headed north toward Long Island Sound. “They seemed to be swimming freely and appeared healthy,” said Nathan, who also indicated that he was excited to encounter the mammals.

The whales turn white once they’re fully grown, at which point they measure in at 13 to 20 feet long, according to Garron who added that they’re not related to the sturgeon of the same name, famous for their caviar. She said that they’re believed to have come from the St. Lawrence River region in northeast Canada and swam down the Atlantic Coast and into Long Island Sound.

“Give them plenty of room, show them a lot of respect,” Nathan added.

Have you ever seen a baby beluga whale?

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