Wildlife Viewing in Alaska

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

There are many ways to view wildlife in Alaska, but don't expect bears and moose at every turn. It is a matter of timing whether or not you'll be in the right place at the right time.

  • Black bears are frequently seen around Juneau. You might be lucky enough to spot one near Mendenhall glacier where there is a salmon stream or in town on of Mt. Roberts as you go up the tramway. (With the addition of bear proof garbage cans in town, sightings on the downtown streets have been reduced.)
  • Excursions to view bears generally take you to salmon streams where you observe them feeding.
  • Bear and Mountain Goats are often seen on flightseeing tours as they feed and roam in the mountains.
  • When cruising the fjords, you may see brown bear on the meadows around streams.
  • Eagle sightings are frequent even in town where they are attracted to fish canneries. At Sitka there is a Raptor Rehabilitation Centre where you can see eagles, owls, hawks and other birds close up as they recover from injury for their return to the wild.
  • Keep an eye out for Mountain Goats which precariously manoeuvre the steep mountain sides and moose which may suddenly appear at the road side.
  • The area between Juneau and Hoonah (Icy Strait Point) is the best for observing whales, Steller sea lions, Dall porpoise and harbor seals on excursions by catamaran.
  • You may see whales from your cruise ship so be alert as you look out to sea. The onboard naturalist should make an announcement of any sightings.
  • The Kenai Peninsula is one of the best places to see Caribou in the wild.
  • Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary near Ketchikan is a safe way to learn about the forest and its wildlife. See reindeer (domestic Caribou), a salmon hatchery and eagles, bears, seals and shorebirds during spawning season.

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