Whale movements giving officials hope for survival of wayward beluga

Officials involved with the rescue of a wayward beluga whale earlier this month in northern New Brunswick are cautiously optimistic for its future.

The beluga, which is about two metres long, was captured in the Nepisiquit River on June 15, where it was alone, and transported to Quebec where it was released near Cacouna in the St. Lawrence Estuary.

The whale was outfitted with a satellite tracking device so officials could monitor its movements.

Marie-Eve Muller of the Quebec City-based Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals says that over the last few days the whale has been near Trois-Pistoles.

The area is heavily frequented by belugas, giving hope to researchers that the beluga is in communication and perhaps even in physical contact with other members of its species.

The population of the St. Lawrence belugas has been declining since the early 2000s and it's believed there are fewer than 900 of them still in existence.

They were placed on the endangered species list last fall.