The Beluga: Delphinapterus leucas
These are medium sized whales reaching a length of about sixteen feet. In the Pacific they range from the Gulf of Alaska and throughout the Bering and Beaufort seas, in the Atlantic from the Arctic Circle to New Jersey and the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. The belugas (Delphinopterus leucas) in the St. Lawrence River, Ungava Bay and southeast Baffin Island/Cumberland Sound populations are endangered. Dead whales found in the St. Lawrence have to be treated as toxic waste because of ingested pollution. Lone belugas sometimes venture hundreds of miles up rivers like The Yukon, The St. Lawrence, and The Saguenay. In 1966 a beluga followed the Rhine into the center of Germany drawing huge crowds.
The Beluga or White Whale gather by the hundreds during Arctic summer and the pregnant cows give birth in shallow warm water and then they feed in the rivers. The calves are gray or brown at birth and only lighten gradually over a five to six year period. These whales are often nicknamed the Ghostly Screamers or Sea Canaries because of their whistles and other vocal sounds. These are made in the air passages of the head and then broadcasted through the forehead, which changes shape as they send and receive sounds.
The carving in the foreground is an Inuit woman from Frobisher Bay. Part of her work would be harvesting the beluga meat like her counterpart from western Canada, the Inuvialuit woman shown in the calf. Unlike the European cleaver in the fore ground the woman pictured uses a Ulu (woman’s knife) which is diamond shaped. She is cutting muktuk (the skin) rich in vitamins into diamonds to dry. Belugas other natural predators are Killer Whales and
The Polar Bear: Urus maritimus
This is our only white bear. They are large, weighing from six to eleven hundred pounds with a body length of six feet and a four-foot shoulder height. Ranging from the north coast of Alaska and Canada and on Arctic Ocean ice floes and Islands. Polar bear roam widely and are fierce hunters. They are well adapted to their arctic environment with their white camouflaging fur, which is waterproof on their undersides. Their voice is a roar.