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Wildlife & Habitat

Aleutian Cackling Goose photo by Ronan Dugan, USFWS

Swirling clouds of seabirds, rare Asiatic migrant birds, beaches of bellowing sea lions and fur seals, and salmon streams in abundance are a few of the wildlife highlights on the Alaska Maritime Refuge. The refuge is perhaps most unique for: the sheer abundance of life (40,000,000 seabirds),species and subspecies found nowhere else (6 subspecies of Rock Ptarmigan are found only in the Aleutians), endangered and threatened marine mammals (Steller sea lion and otters), threats from invasive species (rats, fox, cattle, and marine invertebrates), and the possibility that new species are yet to be found among the remote and rugged 2,500 rocks, reefs and islands of the refuge.

  • Mammals

    Sea Otter photo by Carla Stanley, USFWS

    On the mainland areas of the refuge, the native mammals are similar to those of nearby areas. On islands, however, native land mammals are either absent or sometimes unique because they have been isolated in their development since the Ice Age. 

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  • Birds

    Crested Auklet photo by Ronan Dugan, USFWS

    The islands and coastal lands of the Alaska Maritime Refuge are bird magnets; for seabirds whose only other home is the ocean;for birds migrating along Asian routes and needing to rest and eat;for birds that evolved on these remote islands and breed nowhere else (called endemic species).

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  • Fish

    Atka Mackeral photo by Billy Pepper, USFWS

    Although most of the waters that provide prey for refuge wildlife are not within the refuge, by establishment mandate the refuge is involved in the conservation of the marine resources upon which the seabirds and marine mammals rely. The abundance of seabirds and marine mammals that breed and raise their young on the lands of the Alaska Maritime Refuge is due to the banquet of marine foods in surrounding waters.

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  • Habitat

    Aiktak Island photo by Ilana Nimz

    Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge was established to conserve marine mammals, seabirds and other migratory birds, and the marine resources upon which they rely. The Refuge's 3.4 million acres include the spectacular volcanoes on islands off the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian chain, the seabird cliffs of the remote Pribilofs, mossy forests sheltering storm petrels, and icebound lands washed by the Chukchi Sea, providing essential habitat for some 40 million seabirds, representing more than 30 species.

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Last Updated: Jun 12, 2014
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