We learned last week that beluga whales are the true white whales, except when they’re babies, but they also aren’t always white as adults! In spring and summer, when belugas start gathering in estuaries and shallow-water areas, they actually have a yellowish tint to their skin. Belugas undergo a seasonal molt, meaning that one layer of skin is shed while a new one grows in its place. To help with the removal of old skin (and its yellow shade), belugas will use the rocky beds of their shallow summer homes as a nice exfoliating massage, rubbing off the external layer – and getting a wonderful scratch!
Belugas in captivity still molt, but the fake substrates and materials provided in tanks are not nearly as satisfying as a good rock rub. In the wild, molting is an important part of their seasonal migration cycle, and provides an opportunity for them to socialize and “check in” with their summer homes.
Belugas’ skin turns yellow when it is time to molt (image from The Huffington Post)
This week, we’re asking the popular restaurant chain Hard Rock Café to include belugas in their philanthropic causes. Hard Rock says their goal is to “make the Earth a safer, healthier and better place for all,” and guides their actions by the motto “Love all, Serve all.” WDC wants them to include belugas in their philanthropic efforts, & love all, serve all belugas, too! Captivity is not safer, healthier, or better!
Thank you for helping keep belugas safe and free, and go get yourself a nice exfoliating massage this week – just like a beluga!