Champions of the Wild: St. Lawrence River Belugas
Their faces may look like they wear a permanent grin, but the snow-white beluga whales of the Gulf of St. Lawrence aren't smiling. They were 10,000 strong when the first Europeans arrived on the shores of North America, but a century of hunting and environmental poisoning has brought them to the brink of extinction. Robert Michaud became passionate about belugas in 1991 after he fought hard to save the life of an orphaned newborn. The baby died, and Michaud's autopsy showed a startling level of toxins in its 10-day-old body. Through his small, non-profit Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, Michaud identifies individual belugas, tries to learn more about their mysterious social structure and sonar abilities, and lobbies polluters to reduce emissions. St. Lawrence River Belugas takes us out on the waters with Michaud, showing us rare footage of a live beluga birth and providing a sobering lesson on the dangers of over-pollution.
1999, 23 min 28 s
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