1. Why did the plaintiffs want the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale listed as endangered under the ESA?
2. What was the standard of review that the court applied to the agency’s decision?
3. What five factors are to be considered in the listing of a species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act?
The Cook Inlet Beluga Whale . . . is a genetically distinct, geographically isolated marine mammal with a remnant population that inhabits Cook Inlet from late April or early May until October or November. NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that in the mid-1980s, between 1,000 and 1,300 whales inhabited the inlet. Today, the population is estimated at between 300 and 400 whales. It is not disputed that the single most significant factor in the population decline has been Native American hunting. . . . That is why, in March 1999, the plaintiffs filed a petition to list the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).