Wildlife & Habitat

Red Fox

Famous for its Kodiak brown bears, the refuge is known around the world. Bears, bald eagles, salmon and a diversity of other fish and wildlife abound on the 1.9 million acres of pristine upland and waters. 

Native Mammals
Introduced Species

  • Native Mammals

    Only six species of land mammals occur naturally within Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. These include: Kodiak brown bear (Ursus arctus middendorffi), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), river otter (Lutra canadensis), ermine (Mustela erminea), tundra vole (Microtus oeconomus), and little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus). Kodiak bears have been extensively studied, and much is known of their biology and habitat requirements. In contrast, ecology of other native mammals is minimally documented. 

  • Brown Bears

    Bear cub. Photo by M. Weisenberger.

    Kodiak brown bears are a distinct subspecies from mainland brown bears; they have been isolated on the archipelago since the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. A rich variety of vegetation, salmon, and berries provide ideal habitat for bears, and their population flourishes - estimated at about 3,000 bears within the boundaries of the Kodiak Refuge.

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  • Birds

    Tufted Puffin

    Kodiak Refuge and the surrounding marine waters are a birder’s paradise. A total of 247 species have been observed on the Kodiak archipelago and winter bird counts are among the highest in Alaska.
    Complete checklist of Kodiak archipelago birds 

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  • Introduced Species

    Between the 1920’s and 1960’s, several species of non-native mammals were introduced to increase subsistence and recreational opportunities in the archipelago. Eight species established, spread, and now commonly occur on the refuge. They are: Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis), mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), beaver (Castor canadensis), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), and pine marten (Martes americana). Populations of deer, elk, mountain goat, and snowshoe hare are now highly valued by sport and subsistence hunters. Some of these also are a source of management concern because of their potential to influence the quality of native fish and wildlife habitats.

  • Sitka Black-tailed Deer

    Sitka Deer

    Sitka-black tailed deer are a healthy introduced population that thrive throughout the Kodiak archipelago. 

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  • Habitat

    Mountain Lake

    Refuge terrain is mostly mountainous dissected by fiords and deep river valleys carved by ancient glaciers. Diverse refuge wildlands, ranging from Sitka spruce forest on Afognak Island to rolling tundra on the Aliulik Peninsula, help sustain 3,500 brown bears within the Kodiak archipelago, support over 400 breeding pairs of bald eagles, and provide essential migration and breeding habitat for another 250 species of wildlife.

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