ligne décoration

In the process of adoption les étudiants du Cégep Édouard-Montpetit

  • ID number


  • Sex


  • Year of birth

    Before 1979

  • Known Since


Distinctive traits

Montpetit-Gustave has a deep scar on the right flank. On the left flank, there is a hole.

Flanc gauche, 1992
Flanc droit, 1993
Flanc droit, 1998
Flanc gauche, 2002
Flanc gauche, 2007
Flanc droit, 2007

Life history

The first time Montpetit-Gustave was photographed, in 1991, he was already immaculately white. Beluga whales change color from gray to white between the ages of 12 and 16. Montpetit-Gustave was born before 1979.

His large size and the company he keeps lead us to believe that Montpetit-Gustave is a male. Doubt was removed in 1998 with the results of genetic analysis of a biopsy taken from his back.

Like the other adult males in the population in summer, Montpetit-Gustave spends most of his summers in herds composed mainly of males. Three networks of males are known : two criss-cross the Saguenay Fjord and the head of the Laurentian Channel, while another, the “Downstream boys”, also uses the head of the channel and the downstream portion of the estuary, but avoids the Saguenay River. Montpetit-Gustave is one of these “Downstream boys”. To this day, we’ve never seen him in the Saguenay River.

Within the networks, the males form stable bands of mates. Montpetit-Gustave’s most loyal mates are Adhothyus, DL0110 and DL0232. These associations are established gradually and may play a role in the belugas’ reproductive life.

Regularly seen with...

Observations history in the Estuary


Years in which the animal was not observed Years in which the animal was observed

Latest news

On October 19, 2009, we recognized Montpetit-Gustave in a herd of around 25 adult belugas off the Bergeronnes dock. Among them, two individuals surfaced with their bodies covered in mud. This observation leads us to believe that they have dived to the bottom to feed on benthic organisms found buried in the sediment. To catch their prey, belugas have to stick their heads in the mud! They use their mouths like a vacuum cleaner.

Suction is their main method of capturing prey. Their teeth are only used to crunch prey, which they swallow without chewing. They feed mainly on bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates. They also hunt in the water column and near the surface, swimming or treading against the current.

We set course for the downstream sector, where herds of males are regularly encountered. We come across Monpetit-Gustave in a herd of 40 adult male belugas off the north shore. We also recognize the males Trèfle and Le Survivant, the latter a regular visitor to the downstream sector and a regular companion of Monpetit-Gustave.

At the time of our encounter, the animals were scattered and alone or in small groups. Then, in the hours that follow, most of them come together in two large groups : one of 12 belugas, the other of 18. The rest continue on their way, alone or in pairs.

We’re at the mouth of the Saguenay. Around us, some twenty belugas are swimming. Their size and behavior suggest a herd of adult males. Nevertheless, among them is a tiny white individual, and a few smaller grays as well. At some point, the smaller individuals leave the herd and thirteen belugas gather very close together. We photograph the individuals and recognize Montpetit-Gustave, accompanied by Chérubin. Suddenly, the animals disappear. Only a white beluga remains. We stay with it for a while, waiting for the others to reappear… Nothing. So we decide to return to the dock : it’s the end of the contact, but also the end of our photo-identification season!

Participate in the adoption!

Fond amassé pour l'adoption


Cégep Édouard-Montpetit students adopted Montpetit-Gustave (in progress).

Participating in the group adoption were Marie-Pier Raymond, Marina Des Roberts, Abigaëlle Dalpé, Alexandra Harvey and Noémie Raby-Chassé, Katrina Alexandrov and Amélie Trott.

As students at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit, we were fortunate to take part in last summer’s environmental challenge internship, which turned out to be a magnificent week-long experience aboard the Écomaris sailboat RoterSand at several locations on the St. Lawrence River. We learned a lot about the St. Lawrence and its marine biodiversity. After learning about a number of issues related to the river, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We wanted to take action, but we didn’t know how or what to do about it. Throughout our week, we had the chance to observe several belugas, and the idea of helping to save these whales came to us. We learned that it was possible to adopt a beluga by raising $5,000, which would go towards beluga research and providing them with a better environment. By adopting a beluga, we’re not just protecting a marine animal, we’re helping to preserve everything that surrounds them and their environment. The river belongs to all of us, and we are responsible for protecting and caring for it in different ways, which for us means adopting Montpetit-Gustave, our future beluga. A small gesture can make a big difference. Help us save the river and its biodiversity.

Cégep Édouard-Montpetit students

View some images of this inspiring journey :