TORONTO – If you’ve always wanted to see thousands of beluga whales in the front row, now is your chance.
Starting today, audiences around the world can check out “Beluga Whale Live Cam” for an underwater glimpse of the annual migration of over 57,000 belugas as they descend from the Arctic to the waters. warmer near northern Manitoba.
“It tells us about their health and how many they are… the arctic ecosystem is an amazing place and so much is happening and so much is changing,” Stephen Petersen, director of conservation and research for Assiniboine Park, said Thursday. Conservancy, at Your Morning on CTV. .
The main cameras will be installed where the Churchill River meets Hudson Bay. During the summer months, about two-thirds of the world’s beluga population travel here.
The live-streamed event is timed for Arctic Sea Ice Day, which was created by the non-profit organization Polar Bears International to draw attention to the rapid loss of ice that is taking place in the Arctic, which threatens to raise sea levels in Canada and around the world. .
“We’re really interested in how this ecosystem is changing over time and with the changes in sea ice, and the first step is to find out what’s going on there,” Petersen said. Declining sea ice has forced belugas to dive deeper and longer to find food.
His group and other conservation groups have installed a series of cameras, including one on the deck of a ship, in part thanks to Explore.org, which bills itself as the largest live streaming network of nature in the world. world.
While families around the world enjoy whale watching on their devices, thousands of citizen scientists are also using camera images to better understand belugas, the ecosystem, and even learn about other new species, such as jellyfish.
“These citizen scientists and this beluga camera really helped us understand and identify these new species, which is really exciting,” said Petersen.