What Defenders is Doing to Help Beluga Whales
Defenders currently serves on the National Marine Fisheries Service Cook Inlet Beluga Recovery team. The team was formed in March 2010 and is charged with preparing the Recovery Plan for the whales. The plan is expected to be released for public review in 2013.
Since 2006 Defenders has also been part of a coalition of local and national conservation groups, concerned citizens and scientists that successfully worked to get the Cook Inlet beluga whale listed as endangered in 2007. We were part of the coalition that successfully fought the state of Alaska in the courts as it tried to strip the whale’s protections.
Defenders also helped to fund and launch the Anchorage Coastal Beluga Survey (ACBS) in 2008, which trains citizen scientists each spring to collect land-based data on whale populations that is shared with NMFS.
Much work remains to identify the reasons for the decline of beluga whale numbers. Additionally, we still need to educate people who live in and around the Inlet and those who visit it about the importance of the beluga whale and how to live with the protections that have been put in place.
Visit our Species at Risk: Cook Inlet Beluga page to learn more about what Defenders is doing to protect Cook Inlet Belugas.