Bristol Bay Beluga Project

Back to Caring Together for Beluga Whales

Bristol Bay Beluga Project

Bristol Bay Beluga Project

We observe and study beluga whales in human care to develop baseline indicators of health. This information, gleaned from the aquarium community, informs scientific understanding about how specific environmental threats to belugas in nature are impacting their health. Our animal care team interacts with our resident beluga whales daily, helping researchers better understand best practices for approaching and interacting with whales in the ocean in a controlled way. Our daily work with these animals at the Aquarium makes assessing, and ultimately helping, wild populations possible.

Since 2008, Georgia Aquarium has participated in a collaborative, multi wildlife agency and NGO research study assessing the health of beluga whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where the beluga population faces significant threats to their natural environment. We have gained insight into:

  • The effects of underwater sound levels on belugas
  • How they respond to increasing pathogens and changing water temperatures
  • The nutritional needs of belugas that face increasing challenges for food sources

Through the combination of the Bristol Bay Beluga Project and studies of belugas in human care, we provide vital information to researchers and the zoological community. The goal of these programs is to identify ways to alleviate threats facing the critically endangered beluga whale population of nearby Cook Inlet in Alaska. Our work doesn’t just end with helping one geographic population – we’re marine mammal advocates; our continued work ensures the protection of beluga whale populations around the world.

Our Beluga Import Project

Caring Together for Belugas

Georgia Aquarium Newsroom