Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Alaska Supreme Court rejects protection for belugas

The Alaska Supreme Court on Friday rejected a petition to list Cook Inlet beluga whales as endangered under state law.

Alaska Natives and environmentalists asked the state to protect the whale but the state rejected the request. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, sided with the state.

Native villages and environmental groups had also asked the federal government to list the whales as endangered but their suit in federal court failed as well.

The whales, a subsistence food, have dropped to an estimated 350 to 400. Federal biologists blamed Natives for overhunting but recent restrictions on the Native harvest have not restored numbers.

Get the Story:
Belugas again denied special status (The Anchorage Daily News 8/2)

Get the Decision:
Alaska Center for the Environment v. Rue (July 30, 2004)