Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center...

Let me just say that seeing the wildlife of Alaska was high on my list of "not to miss" things about this trip. That said, sometimes going 50 mph prevents a traveler from being able to capture, on film, all the animals one sees. AND sometimes one's husband does not want to detour from the path, hang a u-turn and hope to find something that was previously spotted on the side of the road. Steve has been very good about accommodating my "Stop the car!" chants but he only has so much patience.

In order to appease the "Oh man, we just missed a moose" whines, Steve brought me to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Wow! What a wonderful selection of wildlife for us to meet and learn about.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, research, education and quality animal care. AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Most the animals that arrive the Center become permanent residents and will always have a home here. The Center maintains over 200 acres of large spacious habitats for animals to feel at home and display their natural “wild” behavior. Perfect!
Every animal came here for a different reason. Some animals were abandoned at a young age and others were injured in the wild. Due to the amount of human interaction and since food is provided on a daily basis, their animals become permanent residents. What an exceptional place for us to see the wildlife of Alaska and learn more about them. I know Steve is very happy AWCC is here!
So let's meet the residents... Muskox are members of the goat family. They’re an arctic survivor with a thick coat consisting of long (up to 36 inches) guard hairs covering a dense winter coat of harvest-able warm fur called qiviut. Qiviut is considered to be one of the warmest materials in the world.



The Wood Bison is the northern cousin of the Plains bison. It is bigger, and a mature bull will often weigh 2,250 pounds versus the 1,900 pounds of the smaller Plains bison. Steve and I were introduced to these majestic beasts when we were camping at Liard Hot Springs in Canada.


Black bears are the smallest bears in Alaska. This is the only type of bear we have seen and photographed on this trip, so I was less enthused about this little guy (and we have them in Tahoe). But he was very beautiful. Loved that.


This cutie is a Coastal Bear (who knew?). Coastal Bears, commonly referred to as brown bears, tend to be larger than their brothers located in the interior of Alaska, the Grizzly. Coastal Bears are bigger because they have more access to rich fish runs. They also do not face as cold and brutal of winters as the bears of interior Alaska do. Bears are omnivores, so they eat deer, moose and a variety of birds as well as leaves and berries.





Is this just a cool photo of a way too cool bear chillaxin'? Fun stuff.


I have a thing for moose. I admit it. These moose have participated in dietary studies and have also appeared in movies and television commercials


I was not expecting to see a Lynx here. At birth, Lynx weigh approximately 7 ounces, but can weigh up to 35 pounds at full size and are carnivores. They feed heavily on snowshoe hares. When hares are scarce, lynx will prey on voles, squirrels, foxes and sometimes larger animals such as caribou.
The Tundra Wolves were all sleeping when we visited. These incredible creatures are carnivores, with moose and caribou making up the majority of their diet. There are an estimated 8,000 wolves in Alaska, which is the only state in the U.S. in which wolves have never been included on the Endangered Species List. So dang cool. We absolutely loved this place! Wow.


"Our task must be to free ourselves...
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace
all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
-Albert Einstein

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3 comments:

Karen Booth said...

Glad you got a "fixed" animal fix!!! Of course, I would want a lynx, but the bears in the water were adorable.

Aquí Ahí Allá said...

I have driven with you two and have witnessed first hand, "Steve, stop the car!!" I am glad you got to see the animals up close and in person, but can sympathize with you in not being able to take all the pictures you want to. I had the most difficult time taking pics from a moving vehicle in Morocco, and since sometimes we spend 8 hours driving in a day, it wasn't realistic to stop each ten minutes for a photo opportunity. I will just be happy with what I have. :)
I have finished blogging Morocco BTW.
I am about 8 days behind. I can't wait to blog the Canary Islands... we absolutely loved it here!!
***

Cyndy Brown said...

AWE! The mama Muskox and baby are way too precious. They look like they have walked off the page of a Walt Disney animation.
I would have thoroughly enjoyed this stop with all the wildlife and learning info.

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