Friday, October 25, 2013

Animals of the Arctic


The wolverine  is the largest land dwelling species. It resembles a bear and can be found primarily in remote reaches of the Northern boreal forests and subarctic and alpine tundra of the Northern Hemisphere, with the greatest numbers in northern Canada, the U.S. state of Alaska, the Nordic countries of Europe, and throughout western Russia and Siberia.
Arctic Hare.
These striking creatures can be found in Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada and Greenland. In the winter months, the Arctic hare's coat turns white, allowing it to blend in with the snow, but in the summer, the coat is generally a a gray-brown color.The Arctic hare is not considered a threatened or endangered species in the U.S.

Red Fox.
The red fox is by no means unique to the Arctic Circle. In fact, it can be found on every continent on the globe except Antarctica. Unfortunately, it is considered a menace in many ecosystems. In Australia, for example, the red fox was introduced by humans for recreational hunting in 1855 and quickly became established in the wild. About 150 years later, the Arctic fox threatens a number of bird and mammal populations native to Australia.

Beluga Whales.
This celebrated white whale can be found in the icy waters of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia, though the population in each of these countries is considered threatened. Beluga whales are only found in the U.S. in Alaska, and only five populations of beluga whales still exist there. Conservation of the Cook Inlet population, one of the few beluga populations that do not migrate, recently became listed as critical and is protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Atlantic Puffin.
This memorable creature, also known as the common puffin, is related to the extinct auk mentioned in the previous slide — but it is alive and well and can be found in northern Europe, the Arctic Circle, Newfoundland and parts of Maine. This seabird spends most of its time over the water, where it dives for fish and squid. The pronounced bill is a marker of the breeding season, when the birds can be seen on dry land in the spring and summer.

Polar Bear.
The polar bear is also known by the names "nanook," "nanuq," "ice bear," "sea bear" and "isbj," according to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. These majestic white bears are listed as "threatened" and protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Their diet consists primarily of seals, and because of this, they live in mostly coastal areas.

The woodland caribou — also known as reindeer when domesticated — can be found in northern and southern Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland. This is the only deer species in which both the female and male have antlers. The caribou is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Snowy Owl.

Snowy owls are one of the only birds that live in the Arctic year round and do not migrate. When snowy owls are fully grown, their feathers are pure white, but when they are owlets (or baby owls), their feathers are gray. The snowy owl is also the same owl species as Harry Potter's famous pet, Hedwig.

Arctic Fox.
The Arctic fox can be found in most Arctic ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere, even in Iceland where it is the only native land mammal. It arrived in Iceland during the last Ice Age, where it journeyed over the frozen water to the volcanic island. This fox species is endangered in Scandinavia where it has been strictly protected for decades.

Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have evolved into flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and half in the oceans.

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