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Wildlife

Red fox in grass

From vernal pools formed by spring meltwater to vast stretches of black spruce forest, the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for an abundance of wildlife, ranging from tiny song birds to the Alaskan moose (the largest member of the deer family). World-record sized Northern Pike lurk beneath the coffee-colored water of the Innoko River, where there are over twenty species of native fish. The network of wetland lakes attracts vast flocks of molting Greater White-fronted Geese, making the Refuge one of the most important waterfowl areas in Alaska.

More about habitat at Innoko Refuge

  • Birds

    Greater white-fronted geese

    In the early morning mist, an osprey dives talons-first for a fish, while the forest echoes with the trills, calls, and flute-like notes of hundreds of songbirds flitting through the trees. It is a typical summer morning for the Innoko Refuge, where thousands of birds migrate each spring to take advantage of the short productive summer. There are 124 bird species that have been recorded on the Innoko Refuge. The following link will bring up our bird list (pdf).

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  • Fish

    Northern Pike head

    Have you ever heard of a Sheefish? A member of the whitefish family, they are a tasty and unique fish that lives in the freshwater streams and rivers of the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge. Salmon, grayling, burbot, and other whitefish species are also commonly fished for by residents of nearby villages. There are 21 fish species are known or suspected to frequent the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge. Click for a list of fish (pdf).
     

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  • Mammals

    small moose standing

    Among mammals, rodents account for more species than any other group on the Refuge, yet they are some of its smallest residents. As the name suggests, the Alaska Tiny Shrew (Sorex yukonicus) weighs little more than a paperclip! Two of the more famous rodent residents are beaver and porcupine; one known as nature’s engineer and the other for their sharp quills. But did you know that there is a rodent able to glide from tree to tree? The Northern Flying Squirrel is a seldom seen northern forest dweller. There are 30 mammal species are known on the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge. Click below to view Innoko's mammal list (pdf).

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  • Amphibians

    Wood frog

     The “quork, quork, quork” of male wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) calling for mates is a springtime ritual in ponds throughout the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge. They are the only species of amphibian able to survive in the arctic. How is that possible? Seemingly a creature from science fiction, wood frogs are able to freeze solid while they hibernate through the subzero temperatures of winter, and await the spring thaw.

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Page Photo Credits — greater white-fronted geese: USFWS/Craig Ely, northern pike with tackle: USFWS/Craig Ely, moose: USFWS/Kovach, wood frog: USFWS/M. Landeen
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2013
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