For centuries explored as a possible trade route, the Northwest Passage, which is located mostly through the Canadian Archipelago was first navigated by a small expedition led by Norwegian, Roald Amundsen in 1903-1906.

Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular commercial shipping during most of the year but the dramatic shrinkage of this pack ice has since made the waterways significantly more navigable.

Contested sovereignty claims over the waters (most recently, by Russia) may complicate future shipping through the region, to say nothing of the drilling rights to its vast untapped oil reserves.

The Canadian government considers the Northwestern Passages as part of Canadian Internal Waters; the United States and various European countries insist that this area constitute an international commercial transit passage.

However, as can be viewed here, large swathes of the eastern end of the Passage are barely 15 meters (49 ft) deep and any disputes over the route’s viability as a Euro-Asian shipping lane may be moot – while leaving the region unmolested for the wonderful white Beluga whales who inhabit this region.

It’s hard to pick favorites, but Beluga whales are definitely among my top 3 favorite animals.

These drone camera scenes were filmed by Arctic Watch photographer Nansen Weber over the course of four weeks around Somerset Island. It features the Beluga congregation of Cunningham Inlet; one of the last Beluga nurseries on Earth, where some two thousand whales congregate annually.

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Alexandra Bruce

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  • So inspiring! How can they be protected?
    I look at fireflies visible from so far away with so much Power in tiny
    Bodies….and deep I know someone out there can find free energy so
    I can go off grid and power my car. If this happens, So Much of this beautiful Planet can be protected! Pollution and exploitation……over.
    There is a car made in Germany that runs on salt water… But we need
    Something Everyone can afford! A tachyon kinda cheap energy small
    And affordable, portable, and safe.
    Like the brilliant light of a tiny bug……
    Please hurry….we need it NOW!

  • Such wonderful nature. Men should keep away from the few unspoiled remaining spots on our lovely planet. These belugas feel totally happy and at ease there, love their chatter. Thank you for this piece of beauty at this special time of the year, so needed.

  • Such beautiful footage of our beautiful Belugas. And I’m thinkin’ that Polar Bear needs an ice flow about now.

Kirk Elliott

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