Quick action and appropriate funding key to saving species The following statement from Karla Dutton, Defenders of Wildlife Alaska Director, is in response to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s release of new statistics on the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale:

“These new numbers from NOAA are alarming. They should end any debate about whether last year’s decision to list the Cook Inlet beluga under the Endangered Species Act was appropriate. It is now beyond dispute that we must make every effort to save this important species.

With only 321 Cook Inlet beluga whales left, we need quick, determined action, in the form of a recovery plan and the designation of critical habitat, as well as increased funding for research to determine the cause of the beluga’s decline.

“They may be listed as “endangered” but without taking these steps, they are protected in name only. We must act, and act fast.”


Cook Inlet beluga whale numbers continue to decline, from 375 in 2007-8 to 321 in 2009.

NOAA’s numbers show that Cook Inlet beluga whales have almost halved in number over the last 15 years. In 2008 they were listed as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act, but critical habitat has yet to be designated.

Links: Learn more about what Defenders is doing to help beluga whales in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.



Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit www.defenders.org