Observations of Cook Inlet Beluga Whales Along the Anchorage Coast Between 2008 and 2011
An independent land-based survey staffed by citizen scientists who seek to fill data gaps for researchers
In a fraction of a human lifetime, the Cook Inlet population of beluga whales plummeted from 1,300 individuals in 1979 to an estimated 284 in 2011. While yearly estimates vary, NOAA Fisheries reports that the most recent 10-year trend in abundance continues downward by 1.1% per year. During a time of unprecedented resource development in upper Cook Inlet, Alaska, biologists and decision-makers from federal, state, and municipal agencies, industry, academic institutions, and non-governmental groups are involved with studies associated with the recovery of the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale population. The Anchorage Coast Beluga Survey (ACBS) is an independent land-based project staffed by citizen scientists who seek to fill data gaps for researchers. In so doing, ACBS participants help with necessary collaborative conservation and problem-solving. Friends of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge is the lead organization for the project. The purpose of this report is to share the information about Cook Inlet belugas observed by FAR citizen scientists between 2008 and 2011 as part of the ACBS.