After a 2-year pause, NOAA Fisheries and partners announced the return of the Annual Belugas Count! event—Saturday, September 17, in the greater Anchorage area.
Members of the public are invited to help spot and count endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales and learn about these iconic Alaska marine mammals from species experts. The event will be held between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 14 viewing stations throughout Cook Inlet: viewing station hours vary by location and station. Please bring your own binoculars and cameras. Hours, directions, and other details are available on the event website and the Belugas Count! Facebook page.
This community science celebration is free and open to the public. No registration is required.
Belugas Count! brings together members of the public to focus on conserving the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, fostering local pride, awareness, and stewardship. It’s a collaboration of federal and state agencies, local and national organizations, and individuals.
In October 2008, NOAA Fisheries listed Cook Inlet beluga whales as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This species continues to suffer a downward population trend. Scientists estimate there are less than 300 beluga whales in Cook Inlet.
NOAA Fisheries has designated Cook Inlet beluga whales as one of nine “Species in the Spotlight.” These are species in need of a concerted effort by individuals, agencies, groups, tribes, institutions, and organizations large and small to survive. The goal is to have partners and interested members of the public work together to recover this species. Belugas Count! is an event designed to do that.
Partners in this event include: NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Beluga Monitoring Partnership, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility, Beluga Whale Alliance, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Cook Inlet Beluga Photo-ID Project, Native Village of Tyonek, Defenders of Wildlife, Georgia Aquarium, Glacier Oil and Gas, HilCorp, Shedd Aquarium, U.S. Forest Service, University of Alaska Kachemak Bay Campus, Tebughna School, and committed individuals. The event is also supported by Matson.