Beluga Whales: Leaving the World Behind to See Joy in Nature

The first thing that my computer did was cursing the absence of Internet. It did not matter to him that the phone here did not work either.

When you live in a big city among traffic jams, emails, social networks and calls, you forget about real life completely. And when you find yourself amidst nature in the wild you are at a loss at first.

The IFAW observation camp tower.

Just imagine that there is no phone, Internet, cars, trash and ready-to-eat food in plastic containers, there is no plastic everywhere, and the best and most desirable dessert is pure water.

Forest, sea, whales, birds and a view from your window do not depend on your purse but on the way you put up a tent.

The electricity has turned into a miracle and a treasure that should be protected and stretched out as the last money which I’ve completely forgot about.

And everything is alive ... you wake up at 5:30 a.m., one might say at dawn, but there is no sunset at all, let alone night.

Only 150 km to the Arctic Circle!

Everything is white: night, the sea, and whales! You take on all warm clothes at once, drink tea and walk approximately one kilometer along the littoral zone (coastal zone of the sea at tides).

Behold a miracle!

Behold! A miracle!

Free animals in their environment and you're an outsider who wants to understand what is happening there.

You get back to your childhood days – all the adults around are happy, they say it is a holiday or a ballet or a theater, but you still do not understand what is happening, but it is exciting, interesting, fascinating.

It is the same here – you sit and watch what happens, and you are unaware, and really no one is, but it is something joyful.

So, together with our partners - ZOO TV Russian Animal Channel – I participate in the shooting of the "We Care" TV program about the beluga whale research summer camp of the International Fund for Animal Welfare at the northern Russia's Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea.

There are six people working in the IFAW Belugas camp.

The Head is Vsevolod Mikhailovich Belkovich. Researchers are Vera Krasnova, Yaroslav Alekseev, photo-Id researcher – Anton Chernetsky, video researcher– Vladimir Baranov, logistics – Alexander Bratanov. This unique place of gathering of whales is located only 15 meters offshore, literally at a stone's throw.

The fluke of a beluga whale diving in the White Sea.

There are various researches being undertaken, namely, monitoring of quantity, age and sexual and individual composition, acoustic, photo-identification, behavior. A device named quad splitter was introduced this year.

This device simultaneously records video and sound under and above the water surface. This will allow better understanding of the behavior of white whales. Three bioassays were taken for the purpose of creation a white whales biopsy archive.

The weather station records weather conditions, surveyors note changes in behavior.

Later a correlation will be drawn, as the scientists want to answer the question of how weather affects lifestyle and behavior of whales?

What do they prefer the best: rain, fog, or a sunny day?

Or maybe there is no bad weather for them as they live under the waves!

-- LA

For more information on the International Fund for Animal Welfare effort to protect whales around the world, visit

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