11/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bush Admin Classifies Beluga Whale As Endangered Despite Palin's Objections

The federal government on Friday placed beluga whales that live in Cook Inlet in Alaska on the endangered species list, rejecting efforts by Gov. Sarah Palin and others against increased protection.

The relatively small, whitish whales, sometimes visible from downtown Anchorage, declined by almost 50 percent in the late 1990s, and federal scientists say they have not rebounded despite a series of protections, including a halt to subsistence hunting by Alaska Natives. About 375 whales have been counted in Cook Inlet each of the last two years, according to scientists with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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