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A Beluga Whale Plays Fetch with Rugby World Cup Ball

beluga plays fetch

A cute video captured on the internet just after South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 2019 showcases a beluga whale playing with a rugby ball in the open ocean. Let’s dive in and learn more about these cute megafauna of the ocean.

A Marvel of the Arctic

Beluga whales, have a striking white coloration that stands out against the icy backdrop of their natural habitat. Belugas are medium-sized whales, growing to lengths of 13-20 feet and weighing between 1,500 to 3,500 pounds. Their distinctive bulbous forehead, a melon, helps focus and modulate their vocalizations.

A Life in the Icy Realm

Beluga whales
beluga whales at the surface. Image by petr-slezak via

Beluga whales thrive in the harsh Arctic environment, with a layer of blubber that insulates against the cold and provides buoyancy in the frigid waters, making them specially adapted to this challenging life. These whales have a keen sense of echolocation, allowing them to navigate dark and murky waters safely. Their flexible necks enable them to turn their heads in all directions, a helpful skill when hunting prey such as fish, squid, and crustaceans.

The Art of Communication

Beluga Whale
Beluga Whale or White Whale, delphinapterus leucas, Adult. Image via Deposit Photos

One of the most captivating aspects of beluga whales is their exceptional communication skills. They produce an astonishing array of clicks, whistles, and chirps for various purposes. These vocalizations help belugas locate prey, communicate with other pod members, and navigate their surroundings. Their ability to mimic sounds has led to some calling them the “sea canaries.” This remarkable vocal talent also makes them highly engaging animals for interaction in captivity, where they can engage in playful and educational activities.

Beluga Playing Fetch

Image by Alon Kowen on Youtube.

The video that has captured our imaginations showcases the playful nature of beluga whales. The video under study went viral just after South Africa’s rugby team won the World Cup. In the video, a beluga in the wild eagerly plays a game of fetch with a rugged rugby ball. The whale waits for the man on the boat to throw the ball, and then gracefully retrieves it, repeating the game with boundless enthusiasm. Beluga whales exhibit curiosity and often approach boats and engage with humans.

YouTube video
Video by Alon Kowen on YouTube.

Conservation Concerns and Hope for the Future

beluga plays fetch
Beluga whale. Image by Jeffry Surianto on Pexels.

Despite their playful and charismatic nature, beluga whales face conservation challenges. Climate change, habitat degradation, and pollution threaten their Arctic home. Additionally, hunting and capture for captivity have affected beluga populations.

We must take steps to protect these remarkable creatures and the fragile ecosystems they depend on. Efforts are underway to study and protect beluga whales in the wild and captivity. Researchers are working tirelessly to better understand their behavior, communication, and needs. Conservation organizations advocate for stronger protections and sustainable practices in the Arctic region.


Beluga Whale
Cute White beluga whale in the dolphinarium posing. Image via Deposit Photos

I hope you enjoyed reading about this beluga encounter. To read more stories like this check out the articles below:

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