Alaska Wildlife

Alaska is wild country, and with the vast majority of land set aside for conservation or simply not developed, you're sure to see some incredible wildlife.

Bald eagles abound, and you can hardly miss seeing one if you go to Alaska. There's no better place to see our majestic national icon than against the grand backdrop of the Alaskan landscape.

Whales that can be seen offshore include humpback, orca, beluga, sperm, Dall's porpoise and blue and gray whales. A whale-watching excursion can typically be booked once you board your ship. Once you're out there, start by looking for a whale's spray or "blow," and you may be lucky enough to see a fluke or tail as they dive, or other whale behavior like pectoral slaps, bubble netting or best of all, breaching.

Alaska also has its own "Big Five," just like on the African savanna. But here the animals included are: moose, caribou, wolf, brown bear and Dall sheep. The Dall sheep is a species of white or tan sheep with impressive large curved horns, especially on the male.

Brown bears, of which grizzly bears are a subset, are common in Alaska, with 95% of the total U.S. population living here. Grizzlies are the bears that live inland, and they tend to be smaller. The larger bears along the coastal areas are usually called brown bears.

The reason Alaska's bears are so much larger is the incredible abundance of another local character: the salmon. Southeast Alaska's ecosystem, both human and natural, has always depended on the fact that it is absolutely teeming with sockeye, pink and Chinook or king salmon. Take a cue from the bears and make sure you get up close and personal with this delicious representative of Alaska wildlife.

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