Nikamun

- Project Red Alert, Tadoussac
  • ID number : DL0269
  • Sex : Presumed male
  • Year of birth : Around 1980
  • Known since : 1993
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0269_G_BL95-108-38-1
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How to recognize him

To recognize Nikamun from the left side, one needs to pay close attention to the small details of his dorsal crest. He is much easier to identify from the right side thanks to a series of gray lines below the crest.

Life history

Nikamun was first photographed in 1993, at which time he was a young pale gray beluga. He turned white around 1995. Belugas fade from gray to white in colour between the ages of 12 and 16. Nikamun was thus born around 1980.

In summer, Nikamun is usually observed in the northern portion of the Estuary, between Tadoussac and Les Bergeronnes, or in the Saguenay River. He is regularly spotted in herds made up exclusively of adult males.

His large size, habits and associations suggest that Nikamun is a male. He is a member of one of the two networks of bulls that regularly use the Saguenay Fjord. A third male network, the “Downstream Boys”, is known to use the same portion of the Estuary, but steers clear of the Saguenay. Even if their territories overlap, individuals from one network seldom come into contact with males of other networks.

Within these networks, belugas tend to form stable groups of companions. Nikamun’s most regular companions are DL0370, Jetstream and DL0248, three males that are often observed in the Saguenay. These associations, which are established gradually in adulthood, may play an important role in belugas’ reproductive lives.

How Nikamun’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.

Nikamun observations history

Latest news

  • August, 31, 2018

    Last winter, our research assistants undertook the meticulous analysis of some 13,000 photos collected throughout the summer of 2018.Thanks to this exercise, we were able to conclude that we spotted Nikamun at least once. Here is a description of this encounter.

    A gentle swell rocks the BpJAM off the coast of Trois-Pistoles. We are photographing the belugas and filming them with a drone in order to study their behaviour. A herd of fifteen or so individuals is swimming nearby. It is split into adult-juvenile pairs, with each duo a few metres away from the next. Individuals approach, pair up and go their separate ways up again, making it difficult to census the animals. Another herd of about fifteen belugas arrives; we count 10 adults and 4 greys swimming in tight formation. Amongst the adults, we recognize males Nikamun, DL0370, Mirapakon, DL0248 and Jetstream. The dynamics change, the belugas become more active and intermingle. We patiently learn to better understand Nikamun, his habits and who his acquaintances are.

Sponsor

  • Project Red Alert, Tadoussac

    Project Red Alert, Tadoussac adopted Nikamun (2017).

    Eric Vernassiere
    Pour la protection des bélugas du Saint-Laurent et du fjord du Saguenay, avec toutes nos amitiés !

    Gwen Skutezky

    The Winnifred Molson Conservation Foundation

    Robert Farquharson
    Thank you for your amazing contribution to whale research and for elevating Tadoussac to a centre of intellectual excellence in GREMM’s field of study.

    John Leggat

    Jessie Jamar
    À la mémoire de Mariana Jamar

    John Molson

    Robert Stinson
    In support of DLO269.

    Minty Turcot

    Sarah Stairs

    Gail Skutezky
    Protecting our belugas is essential. We are happy to do our part. Trevor and Gail Skutezky and Family.

    Kimberly Milligan

    Andrew Bruemmer

    Anne Felicite Stairs

    Joan and Charles Ballantyne

    Jennifer Bruemmer

    Katherine Bennett
    In Memory of V. Ann Van Alstyne.

    Wendy Turcot

    Jane and Alan Evans
    In Honour of our grandchildren Jayson, Rebecca and Edward.

    Sue Bruemmer
    The Bruemmer Family is happy to contribute to research being done to protect the beluga whales.

    Maggie Campbell

    Cynthia Price

    Glynis Williams
    In support of DL0269 (PROJECT RED ALERT, TADOUSSAC)

    Susan Turcot
    In Honour of Harrison Baker.

    Catherine Williams
    In Honour of William Phee.

    Peggy Turcot
    En l’honneur de Finn James McMartin Brown.

    Timothy Russell Dewart
    In Honour of The Reverend and Mrs. Russell Dewart.

    Eve Wickwire
    In Memory of Gordon Carington Smith.

    Kenneth Campbell
    In Honour of Tadoussac Families. Merci pour votre travail! Les Campbells.

    Briony Glassco
    In Honour of Bill Glassco.

    Adelaide Park Gomer

    Kevin Dillon

    Ruth Skutezky
    À la mémoire d’Ernest & Phoebe Skutezky.

    Isabel Corrigan

    Virginia Bell
    What a great project to save our belugas.

    Alan Dewart
    À la mémoire de Rums.

    Clémence Berger
    Bonjour, nous parrainons ce béluga en l’honneur de Clémence, notre soeur qui fête ses 30 ans et est passionnée des bélugas ! Merci pour vos travaux de recherche sur les mammifères marins ! Juliette et Leïla.

    Frances Price

    Anne Turcot

    Peter A. Turcot

    Sheila E. Campbell