This summer the Conservation and Research team was aboard the Beluga Boat in the Churchill River Estuary for 15 days to continue our non-invasive monitoring of beluga whales.

In collaboration with Polar Bears International and, the Beluga Boat slowly travels up and down the estuary each summer with an underwater camera attached underneath. This footage is live-streamed on during July and August. Members of our Research and Conservation team spend time on the Beluga Boat collecting underwater video footage and additional data. The video footage is used to create the images uploaded to our Beluga Bits Zooniverse site for analysis by citizen scientists like you!

Above-water footage taken by our team on the Beluga Boat.

Alongside our regular collection of below-water videos and above-water images, we took a step forward this year in advancing our data collection. We are developing a 360-degree video collection technique to gain a new perspective and insights into the beluga whales. This new method will enhance our understanding of belugas and contribute to our ability to protect them.

Beluga whales are an intrinsic part of northern ecosystems and their way of life. We can ensure they remain for future generations by using Beluga Bits to improve our understanding of their populations, connecting people to Arctic research, and inspiring stewardship over ocean health. This is especially important as Arctic species and ecosystems face various threats and challenges, including the uncertainty of a changing climate and related impacts on sea ice extent, increased shipping opportunities, and changes in prey abundance and distribution.

Click here to learn more about Beluga Bits and get involved!

Underwater footage of the belugas in Churchill. Can you spot the baby beluga?