How we fed beluga
Photos of Frantsuzov Denis
Nilmoguba is an old Karelian village on the shore of the White Sea in Karelia. Here is a natural park in which the white whale named Petrovich lives.
Exactly at 10 am, we met with an employee of the dive center and went to the ice-hole.
Since feeding is carried out not by fresh, but by frozen fish, vitamins are added to it, which are additionally prescribed by a veterinarian inspecting animals.
Belukha is a species of toothed whales. The largest males reach 6 m in length and 2 tons of mass; females are smaller. Well, here, in fact, the beluga itself, or rather, Belukha, nicknamed Petrovich. He was caught in the late fall, and in 4 months he was already used to people and feeding in captivity. Incidentally, he is aware that it is already 10 o'clock, and he is waiting for us with impatience:
An employee named Maria shows us how to feed a dolphin. Gave him a tasty fish ...
... And stroked in the face to get used to the society of people:
Maria told a lot of interesting things about dolphins. For example, their brain never sleeps completely, the right and left hemispheres rest in turn, and the one that does not sleep controls breathing.
A dolphin needs to rise to the surface every few minutes to inhale the air.He rose, breathed and dived - such is his natural cycle of breathing.
If you need to dive to a greater depth, it can “turn off unnecessary internal organs” (for example, the digestive system) from oxygen supply, and, thus, do without lifting to the surface for longer.
Each dolphin has its own character. Of the hundreds who are caught, about 1-2 cannot live in captivity and refuse to eat the food they bring. If they are not released on time, they die quickly because of the stress they have experienced.
Some beluga whales are trained and prepared for dolphin show shows. Petrovich is already too old, he is 20 years old (and they live to 30), but at the same time he is very friendly.
Despite the fact that in nature they do not have natural enemies (only the polar bear could, perhaps, compare with it by force, but in reality they do not intersect), dolphins are quite careful and study the object for a long time before they make contact with it. . And they do not have a “biting” reflex - even if it seems to you that he wants to bite the hand, in fact, he has only carelessly squeezed it with his mouth.
Emerging, Petrovich releases a jet of steam. Still - on the street for minus 25 degrees!
Julia tries to deceive Petrovich, making it clear that the fish allegedly no longer exist, but in addition to the clock with the exact feeding time, the dolphin’s head also has a counter of fish eaten.
Maria said that in the fall she fed the dolphin twice a day, and in the winter - three times, while the total number of fish per day did not change, i.e. each portion became a little less. During the first days of winter, the dolphin snorted and looked at it reproachfully, so we could not hold it now!
We give a delicious fish ...
... and do not forget to stroke later!
In order not to become completely domesticated in terms of feeding, twice a week he is given a “day off” - a fasting day without food. Well, for the same purpose it is necessary to feed him not only from the hands, and sometimes throw the fish to the side so that he caught it.
One swift instant, and the dolphin, having eaten fish, sniffs quite!
Another thing that shook me was that dolphins, in case of injury, can pinch their damaged vessels with their muscles. Since the blood does not clot in water, they thus stop it for themselves.
At the bottom of the bucket there was a pair of fish, so now it's my turn to feed him!
Good Petrovich, good! And very, very friendly:
As in that joke - "ehhh, with your mouth, you could screw the medku"!
The fish was over, and Petrovich swam under the water, looking at us:
Masha said that the dolphin is aware that we will no longer feed him, and he himself should not come to us:
But, sailing past once again, he looked at us slyly ...
Emerged higher ...
And splashed from head to toe goodbye! Apparently, he still liked us!
Petrovich will soon be sent to the dolphinarium. He will not “participate in the show,” but this will not prevent him from being friends with children and adults. And the diving center "Polar Circle", it seems, has already received licenses to catch two belugas this year, which they are going to keep for training and further study.