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A beluga carcass washed up in Saint-Ulric

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The oldest belugas live beyond 80 years, says Robert Michaud, director of GREMM.

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The carcass of a young male beluga was found on Sunday on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Saint-Ulric, near de Matane.

The carcass measures just over three meters, and its coloring indicates that it is a young adult.

A team from the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) was dispatched to the site.

The carcass was sent to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Saint-Hyacinthe to undergo an autopsy, which will determine the causes of death.

The beluga carcass recovery program is of great importance, according to Robert Michaud, scientific director of GREMM.

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Robert Michaud, scientific director of the Marine Mammal Research and Education Group, explains that GREMM is deploying a lot of effort to recover the carcasses reported by citizens. (File photo)

The program, which has existed for more than 40 years, has made it possible to monitor not only the evolution of contaminants present in the bodies of belugas, but also the causes of mortality. For example, last year, the team of Doctor Stéphane Lair revealed to us one of the most spectacular results of this mortality monitoring program. The virtual disappearance of cancers, underlines Mr. Michaud.

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Until the 2000s, a quarter of adults found dead had cancer, often associated with the digestive system. However, these cancers are extremely rare now.

A quote from Robert Michaud, director of GREMM

The director of GREMM explains that what has particularly worried researchers in recent years are the new types of mortality observed in females during pregnancy or giving birth. A high proportion of mortality caused by forms of parasitism as well as bacterial and viral infections has also been noted among young belugas.

The GREMM encourages local residents to report all stranded carcasses. This allows the research group to follow the evolution of the species. This is very valuable in helping us protect belugas.

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For several years, there has been an over-representation of juveniles among stranded carcasses.

Between 15 and 18 beluga carcasses are found each year on the banks of the St. Lawrence.

This number is quite consistent with our idea that the population is #x27;has remained stable over the past 40 years. In itself, this is not good news, because we would have liked to see this population almost double during this period, indicates the director of GREMM who is saddened by the fact that the beluga is still an endangered species. /p>

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