On June 12, 2016, following the broadcast of Animo on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, viewers rallied in large numbers to collectively adopt the eponymously-named St. Lawrence beluga. Through this adoption, devoted viewers of the show support scientific research, help to save an endangered species and emphasize their commitment to the St. Lawrence and all its inhabitants.

Less than 48 hours after broadcasting the program, $5,000 had been raised for the adoption! The goal being to raise a total of $15,000, the adoption continues. Donations will help support the St. Lawrence Beluga Project, a consortium of private and university research laboratories pursuing a research and monitoring program on belugas and the St. Lawrence ecosystem.

Since 1984, the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) has been managing the St. Lawrence beluga catalogue, which comprises several hundred individuals. Researchers first met the beluga Animo during a trip on board the Bleuvet on July 23, 2015, accompanied by Sébastien Kfoury and the entire crew of the Animo program. At the time of this encounter, Animo didn’t even have a name and her easily recognizable scar was still unfamiliar to researchers. Her behaviour, on the other hand, grabbed the team’s attention.

Animo was

swimming with two young belugas aged between two and four years, judging by their size and colouring. The much larger Animo was still slightly gray. As the colour change in belugas, i.e. fading from gray to white, occurs between the ages of 12 and 16, Animo was probably around ten years old. Her association with young belugas leads us to believe that this is a young female. On the boat, the research team is already calling her “the babysitter”.

In the years to come, Animo’s affiliations and movement patterns should reveal more about her identity and the social lives of young belugas. By better understanding how belugas live, we will be able to better protect them.

To learn more:

Animo adopte un béluga (in French)

Adopt a Beluga campaign

St. Lawrence beluga

News - 20/6/2016

Béatrice Riché

Béatrice Riché has served as editor for the GREMM in 2016. She holds an MSc in environmental science and has spent several years working abroad in the fields of resource conservation, species at risk and climate change. Back on the shores of the St. Lawrence, which she keeps watch over every day, Béatrice writes columns on whales, drawing inspiration from events taking place here and afar.

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