JULY 29, 2016
29 / 07 / 2016
The summer of 2016 – our 32nd season at sea with the belugas – was once again rich in encounters and surprises. Good news: after a noticeable three-year absence, we saw Solidaire again this summer. Ever since our first encounter back in 1994, he has regularly failed to “show up”. We’re always striving to better understand these brief absences: are they a reflection of the individual’s movements or rather the vagaries of our sampling methods?
July 29, 2016: we cross paths with Solidaire near Île aux Pommes off the coast of Trois-Pistoles. He’s swimming in a herd of males numbering about 150 individuals, including white adults and gray juveniles. The herd is split up into about twenty or so smaller groups.
The animals are very active: some belugas are “porpoising”, meaning they’re swimming with their bodies raised out of the water; others are showing their tails. We can hear all sorts of vocalizations. Before taking photos, we must identify the markings that the animals show on both flanks. Despite the size of the herd, we manage to sort through them and find several individuals with easily identifiable markings. Further data analysis will help us determine who Solidaire’s comrades were that day.
Update : November 30, 2017