Biologists list threats to beluga whales

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Marine biologists say the beluga whales in Cook Inlet are endangered and now it's time to learn why.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has listed 18 potential threats to the inlet's beluga whale population in a preliminary report of potential causes.

This comes just a few days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared the Cook Inlet whales endangered.

Of those threats, five represent a high risk to the whales, the report said.

Of those five, two are natural dangers, which are either disease or whale strandings on mud flats.

Three are considered man-made dangers that include whale poaching, food reduction or man-made noise caused by activity such as oil and gas drilling or coastal construction.

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