Beluga whales showing no significant increase

Jan 04, 2013 -- 7:00pm


- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A government official says the beluga whales that swim in Cook Inlet off Alaska's largest city appear headed for extinction if nothing changes. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Julie Speegle says a survey done in June found the whales "are not recovering," and officials don't know why. Cook Inlet belugas, considered genetically distinct, have been struggling and in decline for years. The white whales in waters off Anchorage have been listed as endangered since 2008, when the count was higher than the most recent population estimates. NOAA says estimates have been as low as 278 whales and as high as 366 in the past decade. The annual survey has been done since the early 1990s. Speegle said NOAA is developing a recovery plan, which is expected to be completed by late spring. 

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