Uapameku

- Prince Jacques de Monaco
  • ID number : DL9068
  • Sex : Unknown
  • Year of birth : Circa 2004
  • Know since : 2015
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Its distinctive traits

From the right side, Uapameku is quite easy to recognize. A large grey spot can be seen in the middle of its flank, a little closer to its dorsal crest than to its blowhole. This spot resembles the wing of a bird, angel or butterfly. On the same flank and near the crest is a second grey spot, this one smaller in size.

Life history

We first encountered Uapameku in 2015, at which time its skin was grey. In our next two observations (2016 and 2018), the colour of its skin had not become much paler. Its colouring indicates that Uapameku is a young beluga, since the transition from grey to white occurs between 12 and 16 years of age. When Uapameku becomes completely white, we will have a better idea of its age.

The sex of this young beluga is unknown. During the summer adult males and females are observed in separate groups. Females live in communities with young, while males are often found in unisex herds. During our encounters, we observed Uapameku with males as well as with females. In the absence of a biopsy – i.e. a tiny fat sample taken for analysis – we cannot confirm the sex of this individual.

What will we learn about Uapameku, as well as about its species? Over the years, this beluga will develop affiliations and territorial affinities. By getting to know Uapameku better, we can better understand the social development of young belugas.

Uapameku observations history

Latest news

  • SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

    Days like this one, we would gladly take every day! Off the coast of Cacouna, near the south shore of the St. Lawrence, we turn off the motor of the BpJAM. As the waves gently rock our small inflatable watercraft, we enjoy good visibility for identifying belugas. More precisely, there are about fifty individuals around us. The size of the animals and the shape of their shoulders indicate that we are in the presence of adults and young, males and females.

    We easily identify the pretty grey spot of Uapameku. It is swimming in the presence of other grey-skinned juveniles. Between all the grey and white backs, we see a small beluga the colour of café au lait. A newborn? We try to photograph it, but it disappears among its companions, preventing us from confirming our sighting.

    It should be pointed out that the animals are beginning to stir at the surface. Tails and pectoral fins pierce the water surface. Some belugas are even spitting rings of water. Seabirds dive and resurface with a fish in their beaks. Some heads rise above the waves and observe us: in whale-watching lingo this behaviour is known as “spyhopping”.

    Truly, today is exceptional. The belugas are beginning to vocalize. Their big melon-shaped heads emerge from the water and all kinds of sounds are coming out of their mouths. What’s causing all this commotion? We think we are witnessing a feast, but we want to confirm it. We launch the drone for a different angle of the scene. Later, when we analyze the videos, maybe we’ll have our answer!

    The low battery of the drone forces us to land it. It’s time to continue onward in search of other belugas.

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