Wildlife & Habitat

Arctic char underwater

Togiak Refuge is home to at least 283 species of wildlife, including 33 kinds of fish, 201 birds, 31 land mammals, 17 marine mammals, and 1 amphibian – the wood frog. 

  • Residents and Visitors

    Not all wildlife live here all year. Only the most hardy or those that can hibernate are found on the Refuge when snow blankets the land and temperatures fall to -30°F, making food scarce. 

    In April and May flocks of migratory birds arrive by the tens of thousands and hibernating wildlife awaken to search for new plant growth in the longer daylight hours. As the rivers thaw, the first of more than a million salmon begin to migrate up Refuge rivers to spawn. Wildflowers bloom in a changing panorama of colors. New life is everywhere.  

    Animal activity soon shifts to intense feeding in preparation for migration to milder climates or for winter survival on the Refuge. As the days grow shorter, the tundra turns brilliant hues of reds, juicy berries are abundant, and frost finally silences the hordes of insects.

  • Mammals

    Bear with dark circles around the eyes

    Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 30 species of terrestrial mammals including brown bear, moose, caribou, wolves, and wolverines. In addition, 17 species of marine mammals are found along the coastline.

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  • Fish

    Arctic char.

     The Refuge provides more than 4,500 miles of stream and river habitat. The habitat produces nearly 3 million chinook, sockeye, chum, pink and coho salmon, and 27 other fish species.

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  • Birds

    Golden Crown Sparrow

    Togiak Refuge conserves habitat for at least 201 staging, migrating, or breeding bird species.

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  • Plants and Habitat


    More than 500 kinds of plants grow here in a variety of habitats that include fresh and saltwater wetlands, open water,, meadows, mountains, tundra, and forests of spruce and cottonwood. The coastline varies from rugged, lichen-covered cliffs to sandy beaches.


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  • Interesting Terrain

    Fire and Ice  

    Volcanoes and glaciers shaped many Togiak Refuge landscapes. The two came together to create a rare “tuya,” a three-mile-long, 2,000-foot-high lava lump. Formed when a volcano erupted under glacial ice, this tuya is the only one known in Alaska.

    Glaciers sculpted hanging valleys, cirques, and deep lakes in the scenic Wood River mountains. The Refuge has more than 500 lakes larger in size than 25 acres (22 football fields), some deeper than 400 feet.