Alaska’s wolves

SmALaskaWolfAlaska is home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the United States. Some 7,000 to 9,000 wolves roam the state in habitats as diverse as barren arctic tundra and lush temperate rainforest.

Alaska’s wolves play an essential role in maintaining healthy prey populations and biodiversity in their ecosystems. They are also vital to the state’s tourism economy: People from all over the world come to Alaska for the opportunity to see a wild wolf. Wolves are highly intelligent and social animals that communicate with one another using a variety of sounds, facial expressions, postures and rituals. They live in close-knit family groups, or packs, led by an alpha male and female. Pack members have well-defined roles that include participation in the care of the young. Each pack has a home range of approximately 600 square miles and can travel up to 100 miles daily. Gray wolves are not necessarily gray; shades of black, white, brown and tan are common. Adults usually weigh 85 to 115 pounds. In Alaska, wolves feed primarily on moose, caribou, Dall sheep, beavers and rodents.

ALASKA. Potter Marsh is the place to go in Anchorage to watch birds

smPoterMarshNobody wants to think about it. The days are still warm; the sun still lingers well into the evening.

But the birds of Alaska already have winter on their minds, and if you stop and look carefully, there are signs of their retreat everywhere.

Migration time is nearly here. And one of the best places to view it is Potter Marsh.

"Certainly, activity is starting to wind down, although there are going to be birds there for a couple of months at least," Stan Senner, vice president and executive director of the National Audubon Society's Alaska state office, said of the birds that arrived at the marsh just two months ago.

Then, Potter Marsh was bustling with the arrival of migrant loons, waterfowl, shorebirds and geese. It's probably one of the most productive places to view birds in the Anchorage Bowl. In the spring, it attracts such species as the Pacific loon, red-necked grebe, greater scaup, canvasback, Barrow's goldeneye and arctic tern. Tundra and trumpeter swans can be seen during migration, as well as various raptors.

Alaska-St. Elias Range tundra

smTundraBearThe Alaska/St. Elias Range Tundra is a long belt of high, rugged mountains arcing north from the base of the Alaska Peninsula, east to encompass the Alaska Range, and south to include the Wrangell/St. Elias Range on the Canadian/Alaskan border near Yakutat Bay. The Canadian portion of this ecoregion encompasses the southwestern corner of the Yukon Territory and extreme northwestern British Columbia. Elevations range from sea level at the western end, to 600 meters in the broad, lower valleys, often to over 4,000 meters. Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America, lies within the ecoregion, with an elevation of over 6,100 meters. The St. Elias Mountains are among the highest in Canada, ranging upward to 6000 m asl. Peaks stand as isolated blocks separated by broad ice fields. Because the limit of permanent snow is 2150 m asl, the mountains present great masses of ice and snow, causing great valley glaciers. Permafrost is continuous at high elevation and sporadic and discontinuous at low elevation (ESWG 1995).


Alaska's Brown Bear Viewing Areas & Opportunities

smBearAlaskaWithout a doubt, the majority of visitors as well as Alaska residents hope to see brown bears, black bears, and grizzlies during their adventures in the great outdoors. The growing popularity of Alaska as a vacation destination is attracting increasing numbers of wildlife viewing enthusiasts from all over the world. But the most popular bear viewing areas in the state, aside from visiting Denali National Park, have reached their saturation point for the number of visitors who are allowed into these critically sensitive areas.


ALASKA. Arctic Fox

smArcticFoxClassification and Range
The class of foxes belongs to the order Carnivora and in the family Canidae. There are 20 species of foxes in six genera: Alopex (arctic foxes), Cerdocyon (crab-eating foxes), Otocyon (bat-eared foxes), Pseudalopex (South American foxes), Urocyon (gray foxes) and Vulpes (all other foxes).* Debate continues on whether the arctic fox should be classified into Vulpes or into its own genus of Alopex. The arctic fox is also known as the polar fox or the white fox.