Get ready for the Cook Inlet beluga count this weekend

A citizen volunteer looks for belugas near Ship Creek.

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Fisheries program is asking for the public's help this weekend in conducting the third annual "Belugas Count!" program, held this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to NOAA, of the five beluga stocks in the country, only the Cook Inlet stock is classified as 'endangered,' with only about 300-400 left. That's particularly concerning as belugas are considered the 'canaries of the sea' because of their sensitivity to environmental pressures.

The event is free and open to the public with viewing stations from Homer to the Mat-Su Valley. An interactive map with station locations can be found here. No registration is required.

Image from ADF&G

There's also an event from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Alaska Zoo featuring beluga-related presentations, storytime, and other family-friendly activities.

More information on the event can be found here.

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