15 August 2011

Beluga whale crashes wedding at aquarium, dances with mariachi band

The term “wedding crasher” took on a whole new meaning recently when a couple getting married at a Connecticut aquarium added a beluga whale to their guest list. “Juno,” a light colored beluga whale, swam over to the window of his 750,000 gallon tank during the wedding when he heard the mariachi band playing for the human guests and began moving to the music.

Juno’s trainer, Kelly O’Neil, said beluga whales are one of the most musical types of whales and are known as the “canaries of the sea” because of the beautiful sounds they make as they swim. O’Neil said Juno and the two female whales who share the tank with him can definitely hear music and sounds outside the tank. When Juno swam over to check out the wedding band, the mariachi players moved to the tank and played the rest of their song looking straight at the whale as he bobbed and shook his head.

"Juno is extremely playful, so the mariachi band must have piqued his curiosity," O'Neil said. "The two females might have stayed away since he was hogging the window."

The whales are trained to move their heads up and down and sideways as part of their training at the aquarium but at the wedding, Juno was all on his own. No trainer was around to coax him on, O’Neil said. The three whales are also shown daily TV shows to keep them from getting bored because their minds are “active” and intelligent, she said.

Interestingly, in the wild, beluga whales are shy and elusive, O’Neil said. The three are part of an educational program at the aquarium that hopes to expose more people to the beauty of these animals as their natural environment shrinks from pollution and their numbers dwindle from hunting.

Kathryn Lorusso
Kathryn is a former journalist and English teacher who now counsels and mediates teenage drama on a daily basis in the Dallas, Ft. Worth metroplex. Time away from school is spent cooking up new macrobiotic/vegan specialties, writing various blogs and newsletters and taking as many bikram yoga classes as possible.

Photo credit: Screen Capture