Working for a better world...

where whales and humans meet.

RESEARCH ~ PROTECTION ~ EDUCATION

Is Interaction

Helpful or Harmful?


Alone and deprived of all social, physical and acoustic contact with other white whales, solitary belugas can become habitually attracted to people and boats.


The Whale Stewardship Project's (WSP) research shows that the degree of sociability in these whales appears to increase as they spend more and more time in the company of humans.    


Regardless of what small benefits the whales may derive from close contact with humans, the potential for harm is great. We must therefore act in the best interest of the whales by viewing at a distance and limiting human

contact.

What are the dangers facing sociable whales?


Prolonged and repeated interaction can lead to behavioural modification that threatens both their physical and psychological well-being.


Encouraging a whale to investigate a motor or to come alongside a boat puts the animal at risk of serious physical injury.


Attempting to feed a wild whale may not only promote food dependency and interfere with their natural inclinations to forage, but may cause illness or death.


Escalating boat traffic and the collective impact over time from many hundreds of people all attempting to "pet" the whale, can exact a heavy toll. After five years, Wilma exhibited overt sign of stress and aggression, particularly toward swimmers; something not initially observed in any of the belugas.


The WSP has developed specific guidelines for viewing solitary sociable beluga whales.

Whale Stewardship Project

P.O. Box 36101

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada   B3J 3S9

1-902-889-2679

Email: wsp@eastlink.ca

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