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Alaska

Wildlife ... in every direction

Alaska offers unparalleled opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife. The variety and impressive numbers of mammals, birds and marine wildlife in Alaska draw visitors from all over the world.

There are 12 species of big game, including some not found in the Lower 48. Approximate numbers of some Alaskan mammals are 144,000-166,000 moose; 950,000 caribou; 60,000 to 80,000 Dall sheep; 32,000-43,000 brown bear; 100,000-200,000 black bear; 5,900- 7,200 wolves; 2,100 musk oxen; 13,000-15,000 mountain goats; and, 350,000-400,000 black-tailed deer.

Nearly 430 species of birds can be found in Alaska, including ducks, geese, swans and the millions of seabirds that nest in colonies along Alaska’s coastlines. Some migratory birds travel up to 20,000 miles on their round-trip journeys to Alaska. The spring concentration of shorebirds is one of the most impressive sights in the world. Alaska is the best place in the country to view our national symbol, the American Bald Eagle. The Chilkat River near Haines is home to over 3,000 bald eagles each fall when they arrive to feed on the late run of salmon. Alaska is a birder’s heaven.

Alaska’s shorelines are home to an abundance of marine life, including stellar sea lions, walrus, whales, seals and sea otters. The world’s largest colony of seals, numbering over one million, breeds undisturbed on the Pribilof Islands. Sixteen species of whales have been identified in Alaska’s waters. Increasing numbers of visitors arrange whale-watching tours during migration in hopes of witnessing the massive mammal "breach" high above the water level. Sea otters are amusing creatures to watch. They are playful and are often seen carrying their young on their chest.

In order to increase your sightings of Alaskan wildlife, it is a good idea to educate yourself on how, where and when to locate animals. Learn the details of an animal’s environment to be able to look in the right places. For example, most mammals and birds are active in early morning and late evening. This is the reason wildlife-viewing tours in Denali National Park depart only early and late in the day. You must also look carefully and listen. Carry binoculars or a spotting scope to scan the hillsides and valleys. There are few rewards as great as spotting Alaska’s magnificent animal life in the scenic beauty of their natural habitats.

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Brown bears like to visit the Cabins
Brown bears like to visit the Cabins

Almost 1 Million caribou roam in Alaska
Almost 1 Million caribou roam in Alaska

   
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Source: Alaska TIA; magazineUSA.com & magazinUSA.com
Last modified: 20070909
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