Two beluga whales seen in ice hole near Tokarevsky lighthouse in Vladivostok

Two beluga whales seen in ice hole near Tokarevsky lighthouse in Vladivostok

6 February 2023

On 5 February, two beluga whales were seen swimming in an ice hole near the Tokarevsky lighthouse in Vladivostok. According to onlookers, at first the beluga whales swam up to people who came to see them, but later they began to swim away into the neighbouring ice hole.


According to the Russian Geographical Society, in winter, beluga whales, as a rule, keep to the edges of ice fields, but can also swim into the glacier zone. Ice holes, where beluga whales come up to breathe, can be several kilometres apart from each other. Beluga whales find them by using echolocation. Indeed, the whales can get trapped under the ice when the distance to open water exceeds 3–4.5 km. The distance from the Tokarevsky lighthouse to the ice-free water area is about 4.5 km. However, according to, the number of open water pockets has increased to four in recent days, and a tanker also passed through the fairway, having cleared the ice from a fairly large area leading to the open sea.


“The press service of the mayor's office reported that the Vladivostok City Search and Rescue Service conducted reconnaissance on the ice. The rescuers came not to rescue the beluga whales from trouble, but to persuade the crowd of people on the ice to go ashore. At the same time, the whales found a way out and swam off, according to the rescuers,” the message reads.


Beluga whale sightings occur almost daily in the waters of Russky Island, not far from the port of Nakhodka and near Vladivostok. Experts recommend that Primorye residents avoid encounters with beluga whales. Do not feed them or try to pet them. You can watch these marine mammals from the shore, without going out on the ice.

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