Taken from the newsletter Portrait de baleines, May 28, 2011
Le Survivant (“the survivor”) is now an old male whose name suits him well. The GREMM team had observed him in the past in groups of about 40 individuals, always the same ones. Over time, several of his faithful companions disappeared, not to be seen again by the team, while others were found dead. Beginning a little over five years ago, he has been seen in increasingly smaller groups and even alone.
Mainly observed between L’Anse des Pilotes and Cap de Bon-Désir, he has also been seen on several occasions in the Saguenay Fjord and Baie Sainte-Marguerite.
Le Survivant was photographed by the marine park team at Cap de Bon-Désir on July 31, and by the GREMM team on August 12 in a group of 10 individuals across from Baie de Bon-Désir.
Belugas’ summer range covers the Estuary, between Île aux Coudres and (i) Forestville on the north shore of the St. Lawrence and (ii) Île du Bic on the south shore. Male belugas have a different social organization than that of females. The GREMM team has been observing three clans of males in the central and downriver portions of the summer range: the Saguenay Fjord, the head of the Laurentian Channel and downriver to the Forestville area. These clans are highly stable and individuals from one clan do not mix with those of another clan, even if their territories overlap.
Within their summer range, females form the largest communities, which contain newborns and juveniles, and which show more of an affinity to areas farther upriver. Cows are faithful to their territories.