Beluga whale spotted in Puget Sound near Tacoma for the first time since 1940

Two reports of a beluga whale sighting were reported in Puget Sound waters near Tacoma and Seattle this week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

The two sightings were reported to NOAA Fisheries, with one coming from Commencement Bay around noon on Sunday and the other coming near Elliott Bay on Monday, the Orca Network said.

Sunday’s sighting was captured on video, which was reviewed and confirmed by NOAA Fisheries experts.

The whale is more than 1,000 miles beyond the typical range for beluga whales, which typically stay near Alaska and throughout the Arctic, according to a statement from NOAA.

"On rare occasions, we have documented similar ‘wayward beluga whales’ on the west coast and east coasts of the (U.S.) - most recently near San Diego, CA, in June 2020," the statement reads.

The whale’s current location is also unknown, but NOAA officials said they will monitor the whale’s health while it’s in the area.

The only previously documented sighting of a beluga whale in Puget Sound was in 1940 near Point Defiance.

The beluga whale is protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Anyone who sees this beluga whale should stay at least 100 yards away from it, note the location and call NOAA Fisheries at 1-866-767-6114, officials said.

Video credit: Amy Rogers

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