Gallery: Beluga Whales Endangered by Fossil Fuel Extraction in Alaska


The beluga whale, also known as the “Canary of the Sea,” could become as much of a harbinger of danger as its feathered namesake. The pure white whales of Cook Inlet, Alaska are at a great risk of extinction due to fossil fuel extraction. Genetically distinct and physically isolated from other belugas, groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have petitioned to have the animals and their habitats protected under the Endangered Species Act. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the entire population of Cook Inlet beluga whales for 2012 numbered at only 321, a drastic reduction from the 1,300 whales that existed several decades before.

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