The unicorn of the sea has made some new friends.
In a video taken by the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, a lone narwhal is seen swimming with a group of young beluga whales, probably all juvenile males, in Canada’s St. Lawrence River.
“It behaves like it was one of the boys,” Robert Michaud, the group’s president and scientific director, told the CBC.
He noted that the narwhal seems to have been fully accepted by the belugas, saying, “They are in constant contact with each other.”
Narwhals, like belugas, are medium-sized whales, but narwhals possess a striking “tusk,” really a single long canine tooth that projects from their jaw and earned the species the nickname “unicorns of the sea.”
They normally don’t stray far from the icy Arctic, but Michaud told the CBC that young whales do occasionally wander into strange habitats. This one was spotted more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) from where it would normally be expected to live.
The organization, a nonprofit dedicated to whale research, conservation and education, was excited to determine that it’s the same narwhal seen swimming with the same beluga group in 2016 and 2017.
“Might we someday observe a narwhal-beluga hybrid in the St. Lawrence?” the group wondered on its website.
This narwhal was lucky, Michaud said, because once far away from his home waters, “he found almost normal buddies.”