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Canada  

Belugas get too playful

Two inquistive beluga whales spotted just off a Cape Breton beach have been drawing crowds, with some onlookers swimming with the social animals or pursuing them in boats.

However, marine mammal experts say the close encounters could be harmful to the gregarious whales — and to the people getting a closer look.

Catherine Kinsman of the Whale Stewardship Project says the whales could become too familiar with people and boats, increasing the risk injury.

Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society says if the whales linger in the area, they may get separated from their social group and their food source.

Fisheries officials are cautioning people to keep their distance from the distinctive white whales.

As of Wednesday, new regulations will require a 100-metre buffer zone around marine mammals.



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