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Reasons to Go

Meet the Arctic’s Most Spectacular Wildlife

Reasons to Go

Meet the Arctic’s Most Spectacular Wildlife

A convergence of icy waters, tundra-clad lands and the midnight sun with its endless glow define the Arctic, home to astounding wildlife found nowhere else in the world. The elusive and majestic polar bear is always the star of the show, but this magical destination also boasts gorgeous Arctic birds, massive whales, and lavishly dressed mammals. Meet these highly adaptable locals now.

By Nina Kokotas Hahn, A&K Staff Writer | October 15, 2020

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Polar Bear

This "King of the North" is found only in the Arctic, where it hunts for seals near ice-covered waters. Well adapted to the harsh climate, the semi-aquatic bear can swim for several hours.

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Humpback Whale

Bearing long pectoral fins, a knobby head and formidable length, humpbacks feed in polar waters during the summer months — often breaching and slapping the water in dramatic fashion.

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Atlantic Puffin

Found exclusively in the North Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic puffins live most of their lives at sea. In summer, the puffin's beak is red, blue and yellow, earning it the nickname, "sea parrot."

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With its truly distinctive profile, the highly social walrus is found near the Arctic Circle. Both males and females have tusks, often using them to hoist their gigantic bodies out of the water.

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Black Guillemot

Dressed in red legs, a black bill, and black and white plumage that changes with the seasons, guillemots are deep divers that feed on crustaceans and other bottom-dwellers.

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Arctic Fox

Finding shelter in burrows, the furry Arctic fox feeds on everything from fish to leftover polar bear meals. Its plush pelage changes with the seasons from white to brown and black.

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Also known as caribou, this Arctic native is found in the northern reaches of North America, Europe, Asia and Greenland. It’s the only deer species featuring antlered females as well as males.

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Gliding and swooping through polar skies on slender, silvery wings, the Arctic tern skillfully dives for small fish just below the icy water’s surface.

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Ringed Seal

The most common Arctic seal, the ringed seal is named for the distinctive patterns on its coat. This smallest member of the seal species can also stay underwater for up to 45 minutes.

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Highly social and audibly vocal, the creamy white beluga was named the “sea canary” by early sailors. Belugas are true Arctic dwellers found across the circumpolar range.

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Arctic Hare

The nimble Arctic hare does not hibernate, digs shelters for warmth, and can reach speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. In winter, its thick fur turns white and provides an excellent camouflage in the snow.

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