Wildlife in Alaska

The Amazing Wild Mammals of Alaska

By Gunn Anita Sæther 8/18/2017 3 minutes

If you want to see bears, your best chances are in Alaska.

70 % of the brown bear population in North America is in Alaska and here they are more or less everywhere. Most of them are Grizzly bears, or North American brown bear, which they are often referred to. The population is densest along the coast where they find their salmon and other foods. And you can visit Kodiak Island to find the Kodiak bear, which is the world´s largest brown bear.

Black bear is another specie you can find on the mainland. They are much smaller in size, but is considered more of a problem to humans since they are often seen strolling through towns and camps looking for food and garbage. Attacks on humans are very rare though.

On the arctic coastline of Alaska you find the polar bear. There are not that many left because of frequent bear hunts in earlier years, but what´s left of them are mostly on two locations, the Chukchi population near the Wrangell Islands, and the Beaufort Sea population near the North Slope. It is not illegal to hunt the polar bear here (it is restricted), but the biggest threat to them is oil exploration and climate change.  

In the tundra and mountain regions you can find the majestic caribou. There are a lot of them in around here. However they migrate because of the weather and in order to find food. Sometimes they travel up to 50 miles per day, which can be a problem for the Alaskan natives that rely on the caribou for food.

A great Alaskan icon is the moose. The Alaskan moose is the largest in the world and because of the large population, it´s easy to get a glimpse of them. They can be seen feeding along the highways and they frequently cause accidents when crossing roads and railways. In fact, cars and trucks account for 30 percent of all moose killed by people.

Large mammals are also found at sea, the orca is one of them. Often referred to as the killer whales, they are actually members of the dolphin family. But they are great hunters and in groups they hunt like wolves. In addition to fish, they also eat other whales, seals and sea lions.

If you want to see whales, Alaska can provide you with Grey whales, Beluga whales, Humpback whales, Blue whales and also Minke whales. Some of them you might be able to spot from the deck of a ship, but you´ll get much closer on a guided whale watching tour.

AuthorPicture

Gunn Anita Sæther

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