In a rare series of sightings, three beluga whales have been spotted repeatedly off the coasts of New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut in the past few weeks. The group was seen hanging around the area as recently as Friday when the town of New Hempstead, New York, posted a video to Facebook that shows the whales swimming near a boat.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the whales may have wandered down from the St. Lawrence Estuary in Canada, which is 940 miles away, where one was first spotted two years ago. If the whales were to turn around today, it could take them as long as two months to swim back, NOAA biologist Jamison Smith told Rhode Island Public Radio.
But the group seems to be headed even further southeast and Smith said their inquisitive nature may take them further still. The group was first spotted May 10 and has been observed in both Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island and Long Island Sound between New York and Connecticut. Beluga whales typically stick to colder waters but this group may be following a source of food on their long journey, WABC-TV, New York, reports.
Experts believe the trio is made up of three young males because they are all shorter than 8 feet in length. Adult whales typically measure 13-20 feet, Clapway reported.
Scientists from NOAA are monitoring the group as it travels. The Animal Rescue Program at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut has asked boaters who are out in the area during the Memorial Day weekend to stay 150 feet away from the animals and turn off propellers if they are spotted nearby.