Beluga whales showing no significant increase
(AP) — The estimated number of endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales is showing a small but insignificant increase.
The population of white whales in Cook Inlet has been struggling for years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says estimates have been as low as 278 whales and as high as 366 in the past decade.
The 2012 survey puts the number at an estimated 312 whales. The previous year's estimate was 284 whales.
NOAA says the numbers indicate that Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering and still in danger of going extinct in the foreseeable future.
Cook Inlet beluga whales are genetically distinct. The population was listed as endangered in 2008.
NOAA is currently developing a recovery plan.