Alaska is home to vibrant wildlife and some of the last untouched habitat.

Some of America’s most iconic wildlife including hundreds of rare and endangered species find haven in the wildlife refuges, national parks, national forests and other public lands across Alaska.

Polar bears are one of Alaska’s iconic species, but many other species, including walrus, caribou, Arctic fox, snowy owls, musk oxen and migratory birds from all 50 states all depend on Alaskan habitat. Just offshore, beluga and bowhead whales, Arctic ringed and bearded seals, Steller sea lions, and four types of salmon swim in Arctic waters. However, climate change, oil and gas drilling, seismic testing and natural resource management policies are all threatening this region and its wildlife.

Defenders' Impact

Defenders is working to protect threatened polar bears in Alaska’s Arctic and other wildlife from the threats of climate change, industrial development and unsound management practices. We also work with tribes, conservation partners and other allies to protect key wildlife habitat, such as Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Tongass National Forest and National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

In collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local communities like Kaktovik, we support efforts to increase the use of nonlethal coexistence methods to keep people and polar bears safe. We are also working with local communities, residents and tourists on the Kenai Peninsula to ensure brown bear coexistence and safety measures are in place.

Along with agencies and other conservation partners, we launched and host an ongoing Cook Inlet beluga monitoring effort that engages volunteer citizen scientists and collects data about this critically endangered beluga population. We also provide educational programs to schools and other audiences.

Denali Reflection Pond
Image Credit
Denali NPS

What We Work On

Conserving Imperiled Species

In Alaska, we work to conserve polar bears, ringed and bearded seals, walrus, beluga and bowhead whales, caribou, migratory birds salmon, and other fish and wildlife species.

Protecting Habitat

We are defending many public and state lands from harmful development, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and other priority areas. 

Promoting Coexistence

We are advocating for proven coexistence techniques that reduce conflicts between polar and brown bears and humans. 

Denali Reflection Pond
Image Credit
Denali NPS

Bering Strait Response Teaching Tool

The Bering Strait is increasingly open to vessel traffic as sea ice continues to shrink and be unpredictable — that unpredictable sea ice along with increasing development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas significantly increases the risk of hazardous spills.

The BSRTT draws on the latest technology to be a teaching aid and interactive pathway to foster dialogue and action, and ultimately better preparedness.

Learn More


2023.08.10 - © Jennifer Kardiak-USDA Forest Service.jpg

National Park Service Restores Protection for Predators in Alaska National Preserves

The National Park Service released new regulations that restore protections for predators on national preserves in Alaska. This is a reversal of a Trump administration

Wildlife and Wild Places

Where We Work

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