Beluga Days: Tracking a White Whale's Truths
, 2004 - Nature
- 242 pages
A search for the endangered beluga whales of Cook Inlet, Alaska, becomes a personal journey and an expose of the forces arrayed against this fascinating-and troubled-species. Living in waters adjacent to Anchorage, Alaska, the beluga whales of Cook Inlet are an isolated and genetically distinct population. Thought to number more than 1000 in the early 1990s, a sharp population decline has brought them near extinction.Original in approach and incisive in its questions, Beluga Days explores how conservation laws, management policies, and human behaviors have affected the shrinking beluga population. From hunters, regulators, environmentalists, researchers, and businesspeople to whale enthusiasts, Lord encounters an ongoing debate wrestling with the immediate need to protect the whales, as well as a respect for the centuries-old tradition of Native subsistence hunting. Beyond its compelling characters and particulars, Lord's story offers readers a deeper understanding of the often uncomfortable, often rewarding, juxtaposition of humans and the natural world.