‘Baby beluga’ dies

I’m not certain if my dear family friend Janie had been watching too much CeeLo Green on television this summer or if she got wind that the little white whale that inspired the classic children’s song ‘Baby Beluga‘  by Raffi Cavoukian died last week, but in any event she asked me to write a post on belugas and I am more than happy to oblige with a post (even if it is one of sad news). It really wouldn’t surprise me that she did hear the news as she is a teacher and mom to 1-year old twins.

The inspiring whale, named Kavna, was 46-year old and passed away last Monday at the Vancouver Aquarium. She died of cancerous lesions that didn’t respond to treatment. Cavoukian stated in the San Francisco Gate that Kavna was “a beautiful whale, a magnificent creature. She had a profound impact on me when I met her in 1979. The folks at the [Vancouver] Aquarium brought me to poolside and the trainer helped me to play with Kavna. Kavna even came out of the water and placed a gentle, graceful kiss on my cheek and I couldn’t stop talking about it for a couple of weeks!“. The book version of the song is on my own daughter’s bookshelf. I can tell you that it is already one of her favorites. I’ve posted the lyrics below in dedication of this mystical creature that made an impact on so many and never even knew.

Belugas live in the Arctic all of their lives. Their bulbous head can change shape allowing them to make strange facial expressions that produce chirps, whistles, and squeals. These sounds are used for communication, in particular for finding food. Belugas are often called the ‘sea canaries’. Here’s a quick graphic with 30 facts on Arctic whales (e.g., belugas, bowheads, and narwals).

Baby Beluga

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.

Baby beluga, baby beluga,
Is the water warm? Is your mama home,
With you so happy?

Way down yonder where the dolphins play,
Where you dive and splash all day,
Waves roll in and the waves roll out.
See the water squirting out of your spout.

Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga,
Sing your little song, sing for all your friends.
We like to hear you.

When it’s dark, you’re home and fed.
Curled up snug in your waterbed.
Moon is shining and the stars are out.
Good night, little whale, good night.

Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga,
With tomorrow’s sun, another day’s begun.
You’ll soon be waking.

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.
You’re just a little white whale on the go.

– Raffi

31 facts about Arctic whales

This past week offshore drilling in the Arctic was approved to get underway (it’s been 20 years since this previously happened). This is going to severely affect the quiet and serene home for whales and other marine animals in the area. Here are 31 facts about the beluga, narwal, and bowheads whales – species that exclusively call this area home.