Monitoring the beluga as population continues to fall

Published: Oct. 10, 2021 at 10:43 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On a beautiful sunny day in Southcentral Alaska, members of the Beluga Whale Alliance, monitor the beluga whales along Turnagain Arm.

“Our organization formed in 2017 and our key focus in our home region is to support the recovery of Alaska’s critically endangered Cook Inlet Belugas,” said Suzanne Steinert with the Beluga Whale Alliance. “According to some of the latest estimates from NOAA fisheries, unfortunately, Cook Inlet Belugas only number less than 300 whales out of a carrying capacity of 1,300 historically. Unfortunately, their numbers are continuing to decline and it’s still a mystery as to why.”

This year specifically, they’ve seen a number of drones out over the water when belugas are present.

“It can disturb them and we have unfortunately seen that happen this year so our message to folks is, please don’t buzz belugas with drones,” Steinert said. “This is really one of the best places in the world to see beluga whales in the wild in their natural habitat, so up close, and we want to be able to do that for generations to come.”

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