A pod of three beluga whales have made a rare appearance in Long Island Sound after being spotted nearby on Wednesday morning.
The whales were first sighted on May 11 near Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, according to CBS New York, but they reappeared this week over 100 miles to the west. On Wednesday, the belugas were sighted off the coast of Fairfield, Connecticut, and by Friday, they had traveled to Manhasset Bay near Port Washington where some local residents were able to spot them from shore. According to ABC 7, the belugas showed an exceptional amount of curiosity toward the Port Washington Water Taxi and North Hempstead’s Bay Constable.
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The trio of belugas are thought to be young males, and they have been tracked by the Animal Rescue Program at the Mystic Aquarium since their first appearance, just after Mother’s Day. Janelle Schuh, the program’s Stranding Coordinator, noted that while the belugas seem cute, observers should watch them from a distance.
“It is really important that if you see them coming to your boat, turn the propeller off,” she asserted. “We don’t want the animals to get injured in any way, and we are also requesting that the folks who do observe them, that they don’t follow the animals because that can cause stress.”
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Schuh also related that there have been reports of the belugas moving incredibly close to some boats, as WTNH reports.
“We have had reports of them coming near vessels and potentially rubbing against boats, that sort of thing,” she added. “They are very curious animals.”
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Earlier this year, a famed beluga whale died at SeaWorld Orlando. As the Inquisitr previously noted, the beluga, Nanuq, was on long-term loan from the Vancouver Aquarium and was being treated for a fractured jaw caused by an “interaction between two animals” at the time of its death.
Though the belugas have been swimming freely and appear to be healthy, the Animal Rescue Program is continuing to monitor them and remain ready to step in if the whales find themselves in distress. Authorities request that any observers remain 150 feet from the whales for their own safety, and the aquarium has asked anyone who spots the belugas to call and report their position.
[Image via NBC Connecticut]