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Beluga Whales get attention, Sarah Palin objects

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‘Beluga whale now an endangered species’

The Beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet are now an endangered species and require additional protection to survive. The Republican Vice President candidate Sarah Palin’s efforts to keep the species from receiving additional protection has been rejected by the federal government. A decade long effort to ensure the survival of the whale had failed.

“In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering,” said James Balsiger, NOAA acting assistant administrator.

Belugas are relatively small, whitish whales, sometimes visible from downtown Anchorage. Since the 1990s, the whale population has shrunk by half. Scientists at the National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration have just counted 375 whales in the last two years. Killer whales are the natural enemies of the Belugas.

Sarah Palin objected to the decision related to Beluga listing because of its potential to restrict coastal and offshore oil and gas development and some other national projects. The objection has been contradicted because restriction of the whales will make it more difficult to drill for oil in coastal waters.

The Cook Inlet Beluga whales are one of five populations in Alaska waters and the only one endangered.

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Source:The New York Times

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