Beluga Symposium 2023 – Participation of the CWHC-Quebec team
From May 3 to 5, the Beluga Symposium 2023 was held in Montreal. This symposium brought together leading researchers working on different aspects of the conservation of belugas in the St. Lawrence Estuary, a population threatened with extinction. The CWHC-Quebec was well represented at this symposium with seven scientific presentations or posters given by students and collaborators of the regional center. Two encouraging news items for this population were presented at the symposium. The population no longer appears to be affected by cancers and the number of belugas is about twice as high as previously thought. The average estimate is 1850 belugas (range established between 1530 and 2180 individuals). However, this does not mean that the population has increased in size, but rather that the methods used for inventories have been refined. The unusual occurrence of neonatal mortality and female mortality during calving remains very concerning for the survival of this population living in an ecosystem facing major upheavals.
Stéphane Lair, CWHC-Quebec