Churchill Video of the Week – Lost Beluga Whale

A lone beluga whale took a vacation in London, England this week! The trip began with a leisurely swim up the Thames River around the Gravesland area about 30 miles east of London. The rare sight was captured on this video as well as many others posted on social media.

Helicopters from local news stations hovered above and local officials advised onlookers on boats to keep their distance. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation group was as surprised as anyone witnessing this incredible sighting.

Beluga whales are more commonly found in the Arctic. Churchill, Manitoba is a prime destination for beluga whale wildlife adventures.

Belugas at the back of the zodiac in the Churchill River in Churchill, Manitoba. Stephanie Fernandez photo.

Beluga whales inhabit cold, Arctic waters off Greenland, Svalbard and in the Barents Sea,” the group said in a statement. “There have only been around 20 sightings of beluga whales off the U.K. coast previously, but these have occurred off Northumberland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.”

The last beluga whale spotted in the United Kingdom was off the coast of Northern Ireland three years ago,

Animal welfare organizations including the RSPCA are, “working with other agencies to monitor the situation” and have researchers on the scene to monitor the whale.

Epic Photo Earns Top Honor For Photographer

Foxes Don Gutoski

Image of a red and Arctic fox after the red hunted the Arctic in the Wapusk National Parc in Manitoba. Don Gutoski photo.

An incredible image captured by Canadian physcian Don Gutoski has earned the photographer the honor of 2015 Wildlife photographer of the Year. Gutoski works as an accident and emergency physcian out of London, Ontario and moonlights as an amateur photographer. His graphic photo won the international competition organized by the Natural history museum in London, U. K. by beating out 42,000 entries from 96 countries.

Gutoski’s image, A Tale of Two Foxes, was taken in the protected polar bear denning area Wapusk National Park at Cape Churchill to the east of Churchill.

With warming temperatures and natural species cycles, red foxes have overlapped more territory with Arctic foxes over the past decade. Some years one species will be more predominant than the other and red fox now seem more prevalent in recent years.

The photo was taken after three hours in roughly -30C temperatures. When the red fox was close enough with its fallen prey, Gutoski snapped the photo. The red fox then gathered the carcass remains and cached it out of sight for a later meal.

Contest jury member Kathy Moran, also senior editor for natural history projects for National Geographic, called it “one of the strongest single storytelling photographs I have ever seen.” She also added, “The immediate impact of this photograph is that it appears as if the red fox is slipping out of its winter coat. What might simply be a straightforward interaction between predator and prey struck the jury as a stark example of climate change, with red foxes encroaching on Arctic fox territory.”

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