MONTREAL (UPI) — Wildlife officials in Montreal were trying Wednesday to confirm several reports that an adult beluga whale was stranded near the city’s port.
Sightings began Sunday and continued Monday and Tuesday, Robert Michaud, scientific director of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, told The (Montreal) Gazette.
The group and volunteers fanned out along the St. Lawrence Seaway Tuesday evening, but made no sightings, the report said.
Michaud said the reports all said a large, white whale had been seen and it’s hard to mistake a beluga for anything else.
“I think we can say there is a beluga in the Old Port,” he told the Gazette.
If confirmed, the whale is hundreds of miles upriver from the saltwater Gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic waters and could soon be in distress because of the fresh water, Michaud said.
There are an estimated 1,100 St. Lawrence belugas, although toxic algae blooms in the gulf this year have been blamed on the deaths of at least three young whales, the report said.