The Cook Inlet once teemed with up to 1300 beluga whales -- a genetically distinct population of these white whales. But sadly, their numbers have dropped to around 300 -- and they could vanish forever within our lifetime unless we act now!
Federal officials will decide soon whether to list the Cook Inlet belugas as an endangered species. But they need to hear from you.
Urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to list Cook Inlet belugas as "endangered" and protect these creatures for future generations. A decision could come as early as April -- so please take action today!
As a supporter of Alaska's iconic Cook Inlet beluga whales, I am writing to urge you to protect these special creatures and list them as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.
The National Marine Fisheries Service's own surveys have documented the perilous status of the Cook Inlet beluga whale. A population once estimated at 1300, has now, according to NMFS's 2006 survey, dropped to just over 300 animals.
The beluga whale is a Cook Inlet icon, delighting thousands of children and adults each year. The beluga also plays a critical role in the complex ecosystem comprising Cook Inlet. Yet despite a "depleted" listing under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 2000, a final Conservation Plan has not materialized.
Now, there's an immediate need to list the whale under the Endangered Species Act, so critical habitat can be protected and the Cook Inlet beluga can have a chance to recover.
Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that -- despite a halt to unregulated harvests -- Cook Inlet beluga populations have not rebounded as expected. The extreme and continued decline in its population puts the Cook Inlet beluga at an unreasonable risk for extinction.
As climate change worsens and population pressures continue to grow in Alaska, the beluga whale needs the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act to ensure this Cook Inlet icon remains a part of our unique way of life in Alaska. I urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to rely on science and not politics, and to list the Cook Inlet beluga whale as "endangered" before it's too late.