Alaska is the only U.S. state with three bear species – polar, black, and brown. While Anchorage is home to wild black and brown bears, it isn’t traditional polar bear habitat. However, the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage is home to a polar bear named Cranbeary. To see polar bears in the wild, one must head north to the Arctic Ocean coast of Alaska. Arctic Air Expeditions offers polar bear tours during prime viewing months of October and November, when the highest concentration of bears are present on land.
Wildlife Viewing in Alaska
Alaska is the best place to see a variety of wildlife. From moose in the city to bears fishing by the falls, wildlife viewing is a popular activity. Visitors can also take a day cruise to witness the diverse wildlife, including polar bears, in their natural habitat.
Glaciers in Alaska
Alaska boasts the nation’s greatest concentration of glaciers, with approximately 100,000 of them covering nearly 30,000 square miles. The glaciers near Anchorage offer breathtaking views and are among the most accessible in the state.
Quick Facts about Polar Bears
Polar bears are the largest species of bear in North America, standing at about 8 to 10 feet when upright and weighing between 900 to 1,200 pounds. They have an average lifespan of 25-30 years and are well-adapted to the cold environments with their thick white coats that provide camouflage in the snow and ice.
Polar Bears in Alaska
In the United States, polar bears are believed to be found only in Alaska, with an estimated population of 4,000 to 7,000 individuals. They are known to inhabit areas such as Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument. Polar bears primarily feed on seals and whale carcasses when available, and only pregnant polar bears make winter dens on the sea ice.
Are polar bears dangerous to humans?
While polar bears are not typically aggressive towards humans, they can be dangerous if provoked or if they perceive humans as a threat to their cubs or food source.
What is being done to protect polar bears in Alaska?
Conservation efforts in Alaska include monitoring the polar bear population, protecting their habitats, and regulating hunting to ensure sustainable coexistence.