Friday, May 18, 2007

Endangered Species Day

Today is Endangered Species Day. In honor of this very special day dedicated to increasing awareness of the threats to our planet’s most imperiled species and promoting efforts to help them survive—we’d like to ask your help saving the white whales of the sea.

Help us reach our goal of submitting 7,000 public comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service.Together, we can make a difference.Beluga whales can be found swimming in the chilly waters around Alaska—but they may not be around for long. Cook Inlet beluga whales, a distinct population found near Anchorage, Alaska, are in danger of extinction.

The number of Cook Inlet beluga whales has plummeted nearly 60 percent in the past 15 years. Currently, only about 300 of the white whales are still alive. They are the unfortunate victims of human interference through hunting, industrial pollution, boat traffic, and the simple over-development of their habitat.
Ocean Conservancy originally petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the beluga as endangered back in 1999, but the agency turned us down. After years of scientific studies and more petitions from environmental organizations, however, the National Marine Fisheries Service is again considering listing Cook Inlet beluga whales as an endangered species.
An endangered listing would give the species a fighting chance by requiring the government to consider the impacts of its actions on the beluga, and ensure that those actions won’t cause the species to go extinct. An endangered listing would also require the government to develop and implement a recovery plan to protect Cook Inlet belugas to make sure that belugas not only survive, but that the population returns to a healthy level. It’s critical the government do the right thing this time or we might lose this species forever!
As climate change and population pressure continue to increase and stress the Alaska ocean environment, the Cook Inlet beluga whale needs the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act to ensure their survival. Please take action today—the government needs to hear that protecting the Cook Inlet beluga is important to YOU.
Sincerely,Vicki CornishDirector of Marine Wildlife ProgramsOcean Conservancy
P.S. Click here for more information on the beluga whale’s plight.

No comments: