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Why is the beluga important?
Beluga whales are close to the top of the marine food chain and are powerful indicators of the overall health of the marine environment. Some years ago the contaminant levels in the bodies of some of the Belugas of the St. Lawrence River (at the outflow of the heavily industrialized and populated Great Lakes ecosystem) were so high that the carcasses were classified as ‘hazardous toxic waste’.

Beluga whales are also culturally important to many Inuit communities in the Arctic, as a source of both food and materials for traditional needs. Like polar bears and some other Arctic species, the beluga depends on sea ice for its existence and can be directly impacted by climate change.

http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/arctic/wildlife/beluga_whales/

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