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Wildlife & Habitat


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 outlined the fundamental wildlife conservation mission of the Refuge System, described as ‘wildlife first’.

  • Wildlife/Habitat - General


    At Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the fish and wildlife species and the habitats are closely connected to each other and the soils, shallow water tables, and flooding frequency on the refuge. The different wetland habitats on the refuge support different suites of wildlife species. Some species, such as black bear, white-tailed deer, and red wolves, range over the entire refuge. Other species, such as the secretive marsh birds, are very particular about residing exclusively in brackish marshes. 

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  • Migratory Birds


    Migratory Birds are a trust species for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  Because these birds travel great distances, spanning many states, and even countries and continents, legislation like the International Migratory Bird Treaty Act has been established that enable people from around the world to work together to manage these important wildlife resources.  To learn more, check out common birds of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Bird List

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  • Endangered/Threatened Species


    Alligator River Refuge is home to several Endangered and Threatened Species.  Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, American alligators, and the re-established red wolf are all found on this refuge.

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  • Black Bear


    Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge has what is believed to be one of the largest concentrations of black bear found in the southeastern United States. Limiting factors on black bear on the refuge have been identified as the amount of blackgum mast, habitat disturbance, and availability of escape cover. Although blackgum fruit has been identified as limiting, the diet of the black bear varies with the seasons and availability of food.

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  • Other Native Wildlife

    Bullfrog by Lweis X150

    Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and its surrounding waters support many species of resident and migratory fish and wildlife. The fish and wildlife populations are influenced by a number of factors: the refuge’s location along the Atlantic Flyway for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and neotropical migratory songbirds; the brackish water surrounding the refuge; and the nature of the habitat on the refuge.

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  • Habitat Types


    The habitat on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is the result of the nature of the organic and mineral soils and the depth to the seasonally high water table. The organic soils are combinations of muck and peat; the mineral soils are mixtures of sands, silts, and clays, usually with sandy topsoil. Human development activities have affected the refuge’s plant communities over time. Some of these activities occurred before the Service established the refuge, and some have occurred since.

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Page Photo Credits — Northern Pintails by Jeff Lewis, Barred Owl  Lewis/USFWS, Red Cockaded Woodpecker Lewis/USFWS, Mama bear with three cubs by Jackie Orsulak
Last Updated: Dec 03, 2014
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