Published: Sunday 30 September 2001

A US federal judge rejected a request to extend protection to beluga whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet. This ruling was given in response to a lawsuit filed by six environmental groups and an Alaska Native from the Cook Inlet region. They wanted the whale population listed as endangered because pollution and disturbances from sources such as offshore oil operations made the over-hunted whales more vulnerable. But according to the judge, the environmentalists had no evidence to prove that restrictions on industrial, municipal or recreational activities in the inlet would benefit the belugas.

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