The video by NOAA discusses the beluga whales, specifically focusing on the Cook Inlet population in Alaska. Beluga whales are unique for their lack of dorsal fins, large heads, and ability to swim backward. The Cook Inlet population, the smallest of five, has declined significantly, with factors like subsistence hunting and various threats in the region contributing to the decline.
Despite regulatory measures on hunting since 1999, the population hasn't recovered. Threats include diminishing food, habitat loss, pollution, toxins, and human-caused noise, impacting the whales' ability to feed and communicate. Research in Cook Inlet is challenging due to tides, murky waters, and limited visibility.
Recent efforts include using drones for aerial imagery, biopsy studies for health information, and analysis of prey toxin levels and beluga teeth. Public and private partners contribute to these studies, monitoring water quality, boat interactions, and behavioral changes with increased noise. The goal is to develop effective recovery strategies.
The video encourages responsible behavior around belugas, such as giving them space while boating or flying and reporting stranded whales promptly. The overall aim is to support beluga whales in the Cook Inlet through research and good stewardship for population growth in the future.