"Objective Science for Conservation"






Marine Mammals of the Pacific

Beluga Delphinapterus leucas

Beluga Whale Facts

Length: 5 - 5.3 meters

Weight: 1300 kg

Food: squid, crabs, clams, shrimp, salmon, arctic cod and other arctic fish

Breeds every 2-3 years

Gestation: 14 months

Newborn: 1.4 meters long

Social Status: Groups of up to 100 animals

IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable


Beluga Whale Distribution Map

Beluga Whale Distribution Map




















Beluga Whale Conservation

Wilson and Ruff (1999) summarized the status of some belugas in North America. The North Pacific stocks they reviewed include Bristol Bay 1000-1500 and stable; Norton Sound to Yukon River 1000-2000 and stable; and Kotzebue Sound status unknown. 

The Cook Inlet beluga whale has suffered from over harvesting. The stock declined from 653 whales in 1994 to 347 whales in 1998. The US National Marine Fisheries Service proposed to designate the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Subsistence hunting has been regulated since 1999 but annual surveys indicate no significant increase in abundance.



Reeves, R. R., B. Stewart, P. Clapham and J. Powell. 2002. Guide to marine mammals of the world. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.


Wilson, D. E. and S. Ruff. 1999. The Smithsonian book of North American mammals. UBC press, Vancouver.



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