- Recently, Hvaldimir, the beluga whale, was spotted off the Swedish coast. It is speculated that the beluga was supposedly Russia’s newest spy.
- The beluga whale is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean.
- It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal, and the only member of the genus Delphinapterus.
- It is also known as the white whale.
- It possesses a distinctive protuberance at the front of its head which houses an echolocation organ called the melon, which in this species is large and deformable.
- Echolocation is nature’s own sonar system.
- Echolocation occurs when an animal emits a sound wave that bounces off an object, returning an echo that provides information about the object’s distance and size.
- Over a thousand species echolocate, including most bats, all toothed whales, and small mammals.
- The beluga inhabits a discontinuous circumpolar distribution in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters.
- During the summer, they can mainly be found in deep waters ranging from 76°N to 80°N.
- Prior to 2008, the beluga was listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- In 2017, its status was reassessed to “least concern”.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB