Several beluga sightings near Seattle have scientists concerned
At least one beluga whale has been spotted in Puget Sound, Wash., just south of Vancouver.
The whales normally live much farther north in the colder waters of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed on Oct. 6 that it’s tracking a beluga whale in the waters near Seattle and Tacoma.
“We are closely tracking sightings of a beluga whale in the Puget Sound area, hundreds of miles outside its usual range,” reads a statement from the agency’s Fisheries West Coast branch.
There was one sighting in Commencement Bay around noon on Oct. 3 and another near Elliott Bay on Oct. 4, both of which are more than a 200 km drive south of Vancouver. Then, on Oct. 7, there was a third sighting, according to the local news channel King5.
In a video that documents the beluga sighting in Commencement Bay, which was shared on the agency’s Facebook page, a person can be heard in the background in complete disbelief.
“It can’t be a beluga,” they say.
But, it was in fact a beluga, according to the NOAA, and the agency said it’s concerned about the animal and is “on standby” to respond to any new reports.
“Real-time sightings are very important to locate the whale, gathering photos and other data would help us understand where it is from and assess its health,” its statement continues.
Anyone who sees a beluga whale in the area is asked to record the time, date, location and direction the animal was heading, and to share any videos or photographs. Citizens are asked to report the sighting to the Orca Network at 1-360-331-3543 or the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline at 1-866-767-6114.