With their distinct color and shape, belugas are considered to be the most easily distinguishable of all whale species. They may be best known for their most unique feature- their bulging melon. Some other notable distinctions include their dorsal ridge (most whales have fins) and their ability to easily navigate in both shallow river mouths and estuaries as well as ocean depths of over 2,500 feet. Guests can see all of this for themselves right from Mystic Aquarium’s Arctic Coast, the largest outdoor beluga whale habitat in the United States (at 750,000-gallons).
In addition to our existing three belugas (Juno, Natasha & Kela), the Sea Research Foundation imported juvenile belugas from Canada to the United States in June of 2021. The belugas, viewable to the public, are participating in non-invasive beluga research. These findings are essential to the advancement of knowledge and conservation, which will impact our current beluga pod as well as their wild counterparts.
Mystic Aquarium aims to uncover the mystery of population decline in Cook Inlet and Saint Lawrence Estuary. Learn more about the Cook Inlet population.
HABITAT: Beluga whales are found solely in the Northern Hemisphere and inhabit the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean and subarctic regions.
RANGE: They are found in Alaska as well as areas of Russia, Canada, Norway and Greenland.
STATUS: Near Threatened (Cook Inlet population – Critically Endangered)
THREATS: Human impact which includes competition with fisheries, oil and gas development, offshore drilling, pollution and climate change.
The belugas at Mystic Aquarium are the best Animal Ambassadors! The Arctic Coast provides guests a view of the playful nature and grace of these marvelous creatures. In underwater viewing, the whale swims up close and frequently interacts with guests. During feeding and training sessions, animal care and research are on full display.
Want to support beluga whale research?
Join us on our mission to save beluga whales in Cook Inlet, the Saint Lawrence Estuary and beyond.