2023 Belugas Count!
NOAA Fisheries and partners invite the public to the 5th Annual Cook Inlet Belugas Count! event and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.
Belugas Count! is an annual celebration that brings together members of the public to focus on the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, fostering local pride, awareness, and stewardship. The NOAA Fisheries-led event is a collaboration among government agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, tribes, industry, zoos and aquaria across the country, as well as individuals.
On Saturday, September 23, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., members of the public are invited to join beluga experts from NOAA Fisheries and our partners at outdoor viewing stations throughout Cook Inlet.
At these stations you can:
- Help spot and count Cook Inlet beluga whales
- Learn about Cook Inlet beluga life history
- Find out about ongoing efforts to recover the population and how you can help
- Enjoy fun, family-friendly educational activities
Then join us at either of our two afternoon celebrations from 1-5 p.m.:
- In Anchorage at the Kincaid Outdoor Center
- In Kenai at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
There will be live presentations, booths, family activities, and more. There will also be beluga and Alaska endangered species-themed scientific talks throughout the afternoon.
This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own binoculars or spotting scopes
To stay up-to-date, follow the Belugas Count Facebook page
Watch the Belugas Count! video
About Cook Inlet Beluga Whales
Beluga whales whistle, chirp, click and squeak—earning the moniker “canaries of the sea.” In the United States, these small, white whales can only be seen in Alaska. Of the five populations of belugas in Alaska, the Cook Inlet beluga population is the smallest and the only population that is endangered.
In October 2008, NOAA Fisheries listed Cook Inlet beluga whales as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. At present, scientists estimate there are only approximately 331 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.
The 2023 Belugas Count! event is made possible by NOAA Fisheries and the following partners: