Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)

Marine mammals 2013
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Narwhal inhabit the North Atlantic Ocean sector on both sides of Greenland and the archipelagos of, as well as Svalbard and Frans Josef Land archipelagos. They also occupy some waters north of Canada and Russia; they are very rare in the Pacific Arctic. Similar to their close relative, the white whale, these mid-sized odontocetes liveremain in social group (pods) throughout their lives, often in association with sea ice. They are deep divers that feed on arcticArctic cod, polar cod,

Greenland halibut, bottom-dwelling cephalopods, squid, and even shrimps. Maximum longevity isshrimp. They may reach over 100 years ofin age (Garde et al.., 2007). Little is known about narwhals in the Barents Sea. They do come intoenter fjords in the north of Svalbard induring summer with some regularity, but seem to be much more tightly affiliated with the northern ice than white whales. They do occasionally appear deeppenetrate deeply into west coast fjords as well, and they are seenhave been observed during summer along the polar ice edge across the northern Barents Sea during summer, being most numerous near Frans Josef Land (Gjertz, 1991; Gorbunov and Belikov, 2008; NPI Marine Mammal Sighting Data Base). They are rarerarely occur in the southern Barents Sea, but they do occur in the Kara Sea (Gorbunov and Belikov, 2008). Three individuals that were observed (satellite-tracked) northeast of Svalbard and remained close to Nordaustlandet in late summer,; they sometimes divingdived deep (maximum 545 m) into a trench in the northeast part of the Svalbard Archipelago (Lydersen et al., 2007). The size of the global narwhal population size of narwhals is not known, but there is thought to be approximately 50,000 inindividuals are believed to inhabit the Northwest Atlantic region. ThereLikewise, there is no abundance estimate for narwhals in the Barents Sea. They are certainly less numerous than white whales in this area, and are on the Red List for Svalbard, and on the Red Book ofin the Russian FederationFederation’s Red Book. Laidre et al. (2008) and others suggest that narwhal are likely to be quite sensitive to declining sea ice extent and thickness, and are likely to decline throughout their range in coming decades due to climate change.