Belugas Buddy Up with Narwhal to Swim and Play Together
A young narwhal has apparently been adopted by a group of beluga youths in the St. Lawrence estuary, Canada. Much fun seems to be the result for the social cetaceans. Scientists from GREMM (Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals) have observed the whales swimming and playing together since 2016-for three years-as if they were all members of the same species. The scientists have praised the social and even “compassionate” nature of the belugas who seem to have rescued the narwhal from a lonely life lost at sea. At the same time, the narwhal’s ability to fit into the beluga lifestyle is quite a feat of adaptability and resilience. For example, the narwhal must swim over 1000 km south of its native habitat in order to hang with his beluga buddies in the Saint Lawrence estuary. And one can only imagine what kinds of coordination are needed so no one ends up getting jabbed by the narwhal’s sword-like “tooth”.
Differences may be there, but heck, why let that get in the way of friendship? Maybe we should all take a lesson from the playful, inclusive whales. Funny how closely real life in the wild resembles the story and setting of The Baby Beluga Game, a cooperative board game about the sociable nature of beluga whales and the desire of Baby Beluga to collect his friends so all swim wild and free together.
Be sure to read the true, scientific account of sociable, “compassionate” belugas and their adopted pal the lost narwhal posted on Upworthy September 2018: See https://gremm.org/en/research/ Such lovely video too. Thanks GREMM and Upworthy.
By Suzanne Lyons, CooperativeGames.com