Why does conservation take so long to be enacted? Sometimes its because it takes a considerable time to gather the baseline information that’s necessary to make a management decisions; sometimes its because we, and other researchers, just don’t have the resources to carry out the work we would like; but sometimes it’s the ineptitude of our political ‘masters’. This political failure is no more evident in the fate of the Cook Inlet Belugas of Alaska, USA.
I was looking at a story we posted in November 2008 it which it was noted that ‘biologists reported that beluga numbers had dropped in the last five years from 1,000 to fewer than 800. Now, after scrutinizing the census and recalculating previous counts, they are saying there may be as few as 500 belugas left in the Inlet with no sign that the toll hunting is taking on the population is letting up.’
It was only a few weeks ago (but ten years later) that vice-presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin was still trying to prevent protective measures from being put in place for this population of Belugas which has now diminished to some 375 animals. And why was the senior legislator for Alaska opposed to the listing? It couldn’t have anything to do with the speculation that there are $1.38 billion worth of oil resources in the region could it?
So maybe we should add money (and not the lack of it this time) to the list of why conservation sometimes takes so long to happen.
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