- John G. Shedd Aquarium
  • ID number : DL1214
  • Sex : Presumed male
  • Year of birth : Before 1989
  • Know since : 1991
  • Adopted since : 2014
1214_G_BL99-101-41 2

His field marks

DL1214 can be recognized especially by the gray spot on his upper flank, just behind his head. Relatively unmarked up until 2005, his dorsal crest today shows a multitude of gashes.

Life history

Our first encounters with DL1214 go back to the summers of 1991 and 1993. At the time, he was a young, dark gray beluga. The next time we saw him, in 1999, he was already large in size, but still slightly gray. He has been all white since 2001. Belugas fade from gray to white in colour between the ages of 12 and 16. When we first encountered DL1214, he couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old.

Today, his large size and social associations suggest that DL1214 is a male. Like other adult bulls of the population, he spends most of his time in herds composed essentially of males. He seems to favour the downriver sector of the population’s summer range, namely between Tadoussac and Les Escoumins.

As the years go by, males have a tendency to form stable groups of companions. Three networks of males are known: two of these navigate the Saguenay Fjord and the head of the Laurentian Channel, while the third one, the “Downstream Boys”, also uses the head of the Channel as well as the downriver portion of the Estuary. These associations, established gradually in adulthood, may play a role in belugas’ reproductive lives. DL1214 is not yet known to have any faithful companions, but he is regularly observed with DL0486 and DL0988. None of these three individuals has ever been observed in the Saguenay River, which leads us to believe that they may be members of the “Downstream Boys”.

How DL1214’s story unfolds will teach us volumes on the evolution of belugas’ social lives. By better understanding how belugas live, we will better be able to protect them.

Regularly seen with:

DL1214 observations history

Latest news

  • AUGUST 6, 2014

    We observe DL1214 in a herd of about 100 individuals, including both adult and young belugas. We’re in the middle of the river in the Lower Estuary. We can see Île aux Basques in the distance, which lies off of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges. The herd comprises mostly white adults, and there are also several groups of young individuals whom we’ve nicknamed the “teenagers”.

    Throughout our encounter, we are able to hear a number of vocalization sequences. Hearing beluga vocalizations is not rare but is always impressive. The beluga’s vocal repertoire is vast, comprising whistles, chattering, squeals and grunts, earning them the nickname “canaries of the sea”.

    Update : November 28, 2017