Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Federal government bolsters protections for beluga whales

The federal government placed beluga whales that live in Cook Inlet in Alaska on the endangered species list last week, according to an article in the New York Times. The number of whales declined by almost 50 percent in the late 1990s, with only 375 counted in the inlet in the past two years by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The article notes that a number of attempts to protect the whales short of placing them on the endangered species list, including an end to hunting by Alaskan natives, have failed to help the whales rebound so far. The article quotes Anchorage environmental lawyer An environmental lawyer in Anchorage, Peter Van Tuyn, who said he was both pleased and somewhat surprised by the move.

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