Animal Travels: Alaska

This week’s instalment of Animal Travels is going to explore the amazing wildlife of Alaska. Alaska is an amazing place to visit if wildlife is your passion and in this instalment we’re going to explore the best places to visit if you want to see the species of Alaska in their natural habitats!

2010-kodiak-bear-1.jpgAlaska is definitely home to more than a few bears and if you want to view them in the wild the best places to visit are either the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre or Fish Creek which has road accessible bear viewing. If you want to head to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre you’ll be able to see bears (Brown and Black) year round although it will cost you around $15 for entry. Fish Creek however, costs $5 for a day pass but is slightly less accessible and you can only view bears between July and September when the fish are in.

chinook.jpgAlaska is also famous for its Salmon and there are a few places you can go if you want to see them. Perhaps the best place to see them is of course in the same place as the bears, so again head to Fish Creek and you’ll get to see both the Salmon and the bears of Alaska in one go!

01mooseWAQ.jpgAlthough Canada is more famous for Moose, Alaska is also home to this species. If you want to see the Moose in the wild in Alaska the best places to head are either to Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, Moose Pond or Earthquake Park.

 

KARIM_ILIYA_F8B0880.jpgIf whales are more your thing then Alaska also has some great spots for whale watching. You can head to the Kenai River Viewing Platform which is a popular spot for viewing Belugas, Lowell Point Road which is known for having Humpbacks; or to Barwell Island where you can hop on a boat and head out into the ocean to see Humpbacks are Orcas.

walrus-morse_10.jpgAnd the final species for this instalment of Animal Travels is the Walrus. If you head to Round Island in Alaska between May and August then you’ll get to witness giant herds of walruses as they nest in their tens of thousands throughout the summer. You’ll also get to see several species of seabirds such as puffins as they also call Round Island their home. However, if you are visiting Alaska later in the year and still want to see these Walruses then you can head to Cape Peirce where the Walrus can be seen between August and November as they head North for the winter pack ice.

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Lost Forever/Animals We’ll Never See Again: Passenger Pigeon

From a conservation point of view, looking to the past is as important as looking to the future. Reminiscing about the past can help humankind to ensure that the same fate doesn’t happen to other species.

3780971_orig.jpgThis installment of Lost Forever is looking at the decline of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorious). What’s unique about the downfall of this species is that the Passenger Pigeon was once one of the world’s most abundant bird species. The Passenger Pigeon was once found in the forests of Canada and the USA and they occasionally wandered further south in Mexico and Cuba. This species was nomadic; breeding and foraging in vast flock compromised of millions of birds. They nested in between the months of April and May and were classed as a Full Migrant.

 

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Records suggest that the last wild bird was shot in 1900; while the last captive bird died in 1914 in Cincinnati Zoo. There is no solid evidence about what factor was to blame for the rapid decline of the Passenger Pigeon but there were several at play. The widespread clearance of hardwood trees drastically reduced the food for the pigeons, young birds were taken from the wild and sold, there was excessive shooting of individuals and Newcastle disease could also have been to blame. More than likely the rapid decline was a combination of all these factors interacting with one another to have a dramatic effect of the survival of the Passenger Pigeon.

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