Arctic wildlife

Thousands of years of evolution have prepared Arctic species like the polar bear, walrus and narwhal for life on and around the sea ice.
Because of climate change, that ice cover has been changing rapidly, in both extent and thickness, and shrinking far too quickly for these species to adapt.

The most important action to help preserve these species is to slow the rate of climate change, and ultimately to stop it so that the habitat of ice dependent species does not entirely disappear, pushing them into extinction.


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© WWF / Mireille de la Lez/

Polar bear

Majestic creature of the far north, the polar bear is the world's largest terrestrial carnivore.
© Staffan Widstrand / WWF


One of the largest seals in the world, the walrus is easily recognised by its sheer size and magnificent tusks.
© Paul Nicklen/National Geographic Stock / WWF-Canada


The narwhal is famous for the long ivory tusk which spirals counter-clockwise several feet forward from its head.
White whale / Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) rel=
© / Angelo Giampiccolo / WWF


Extremely sociable mammals that live, hunt and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales.


These long-lived whales are closely associated with the Arctic, their movements influenced by the melting and freezing of the ice.
© aul Nicklen/National Geographic Stock / WWF-Canada

Reindeer and caribou

Arctic caribou and wild reindeer are truly circumpolar animals, linking regions and people around the globe.

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