Gaston

- Famille Pratte
  • ID number : DL2217
  • Sex : Male
  • Year of birth : Around 1990
  • Known since : 2004
  • Adopted since : 2018
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Its field marks

Gaston is recognized by two round scars that face one another; these two scars are found on the muscle of the left flank.

Life history

Our first encounter with Gaston took place on July 6, 2004 while we were aboard our research vessel, the Bleuvet. At that time, Gaston’s skin was light grey in colour. When we saw him again in 2006, his skin had turned completely white. Belugas fade from grey to white between the ages of 12 and 16, meaning Gaston would have been born around 1990.
His two characteristic scars make him easily recognizable from the left side. Thanks to these markings, we have identified Gaston almost every year since 2013.

His habits and associations suggest that Gaston is a male. Indeed, he is frequently observed in large herds that are particularly active in the downstream part of the species’ summer range, between Tadoussac and Les Escoumins. There are two male networks that frequent the Saguenay, its mouth as well as the portion of the Estuary as far as downstream as Les Escoumins.

Within these networks, bulls form stable groups of companions. Gaston has been observed a few times in the company of Solidaire, DL0058 and Mirapakon. Will they become his companions? These associations are established gradually and may play a role in belugas’ reproductive lives.

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

Regularly seen with:

Gaston observations history

Latest news

  • AUGUST, 31, 2018

    The excitement is palpable aboard our research boat, the Bleuvet. We’ve located a herd of about 150 belugas. Such large encounters are intriguing for us. What are all these young and adult animals doing together? The 150 belugas are not all side by side; rather, they are split into four to five groups that are nevertheless relatively close to one another. We start photographing the belugas one by one, attempting to capture both their left and right flanks in order to identify them individually. This is when we observe Gaston, recognizable by the two scars on his left side.

    Evidently, the belugas are also excited by this gathering, their pectoral fins and tails regularly poking out above the water surface. There are even flashes of their pink penises that stand out against their white skins and the blue water. But by late August, the breeding season should have ended a long time ago! This is not the first time our team has observed such behaviour outside of the breeding season. Is this a sort of training session? Or is the breeding period longer than we thought? Without a doubt, we still have much to learn about the lives of St. Lawrence belugas.

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