Around 57,000 beluga whales travel to the Churchill River Estuary in Canada every summer.

By Andrea Romano
July 15, 2020
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A beluga whale underwater
Credit: Getty Images

Who wouldn’t want to play with beluga whales all day?

While actually swimming with the fun and friendly creatures may not be an option, you can still enjoy being up close and personal with a beluga whale in a virtual way.

According to Thrillist, Polar Bears International (PBI) and Explore.org have launched a beluga whale livestream in honor of  Arctic Sea Ice Day on July 15. The underwater livestream shows the whales visiting the Churchill River Estuary, at the mouth of the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada, where 57,000 belugas travel during the summer.

While watching the livestream, you can see whales swimming along with the camera, mounted on a Beluga Boat, as well as hear some of their unique vocalizations. There is also a second camera mounted above the water. While a static camera may not seem like it involves a lot of action, beluga whales are surprisingly social and curious, so you get a lot of views of the adorable cetaceans.

The livestream, as well as Arctic Sea Ice Day in general, is meant to raise awareness for the melting ice in the Arctic and how that affects both people and animals, as well as letting people observe the whales for fun. Sea ice is important to the survival of many arctic species, including belugas and polar bears, according to Thrillist.

“Sea ice disappearance is intertwined with the fate of polar bears, and the future of the planet,” Krista Wright, executive director of PBI, told Thrillist in a statement. “An appreciation and understanding of sea ice can help everyone connect deeper with the Arctic and take action. There is still time to stop this trend and preserve sea ice for future generations of polar bears and people.”

The livestream will be operating between now and September, according to Thrillist, so there are lots of opportunities to view the belugas in their environment. PBI is also hosting live chats during July and August. For more information or to view the livestream, visit the Beluga Boat page on Explore.org.