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 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.