Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Opportunistic Sightings Database: A Summary of Opportunistic Sightings During the Past 35 Years
Poster on database of recent sightings and historic reports of beluga whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska
Currently, the database holds 1,525 records collected from 1975 to the present and is our best resource on beluga whale distribution in the mid to lower inlet. Initially, the sighting reports came primarily from systematic aerial surveys for other target species conducted by governmental agencies such as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In the last decade, reports have been received from a wide range of sources, including casual observers at easily accessible locations. In addition, observers stationed at specific locations provide sighting data for conservation and mitigation. As a result, the data are increasingly biased with regards to effort, especially in the last decade. In the map, note the increasing number of sightings along the shore in the upper inlet.