Beluga Whale in Southern California

Beluga Whale

Photo credit: Unsplash – Mendar Bouchali

You say you saw a what?  A white whale?  Off of the coast of San Diego last summer?  No one would believe you.  Beluga whales live in Alaska and the Arctic.  They have never been spotted this far south.  Yet a boater did see one at the end of June last year.  And so the questions arose, what would it be doing so far from home?  And why was it all alone when they usually like to travel in large groups?  Was it sick or confused?

Monitoring wildlife

Saving Ocean Wildlife went out on the water a few days later to try to spot the whale again in an effort to get a better understanding of what might be going on with this animal.  While we never saw it, at the end of that afternoon the team realized that what they really needed was more eyes on the ocean.  The ocean is a big mass of water, obviously, and it would be much more effective if there were more people helping to spot animals such as these.

By gathering more photos and videos of the animal, government officials would have had a better chance of determining if the animal is in trouble.

But sadly, the next time this whale was spotted again it was dead.  A fisherman spotted it off the Ojo de Liebre lagoon in Mexico on October 5.  Researchers are trying to determine the cause of death but as of now it is unclear as the animal appeared healthy.

If you spot an unusual animal – alive or dead, you can help.  You can fill out the form on our website to provide more information about the animal sighting, and then we can provide this data to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to aid them in studying the animal and maybe even save a life.

You can report an animal sighting here, and please note the time, date, location, type of animal, condition and any visible features.  If possible, please upload a photo to enhance your description.

Thank you for having your Eyes on the Ocean to help us spot wildlife!

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