Thanks to the Guardian:
In the 18th century, whalers who heard whales singing beneath their ships believed they were listening to the souls of drowned men. The notion of the silent ocean having a voice seemed so improbable. It wasn’t until the second world war and the advent of underwater acoustics that science discovered how vocal whales really are.
Initially it was thought that these sounds were seismic shifts in tectonic plates. Only later was it realised that cetaceans such as blue, fin and sperm whales were the loudest animals on earth. A fin whale vocalising on one side of the Atlantic can be heard by another fin whale on the other side of the ocean.
Noc, the beluga whale who finds himself newly if posthumously famous after reports that he once told a diver to “get out of the water”, hails from the most vocal of all cetacean species: belugas have been dubbed the canaries of the sea. What today’s story tells us is nothing new. But it does underline the fact that such whales are not only still kept captive in oceanaria in Europe, Asia and North America, but that they are actively being hunted in Russian waters for sale to such facilities in the United States.