Animals of the Arctic

The Arctic is home to many different animals…

The Arctic’s beautiful and unique landscape is home to a diverse range of animals, several of which are not found anywhere else in the world. The affects of climate change on some animals – such as polar bears – are well known, but did you know that melting sea ice could also push walrus, and even some bird species, towards extinction?

Warmer weather means that animals from outside the Arctic could move north

Warmer weather means that many animals that currently live outside of the Arctic will migrate northwards, bringing new species, and in some cases new diseases, into the region. Some of the animals that are currently found all across the Arctic could suffer a major decline.

How does the extreme weather in the Arctic affect the animals who live there?

The Arctic climate is already very mixed and extreme. A sudden summer storm or freeze can wipe out an entire generation of young birds, thousands of seal pups or hundreds of caribou calves. Climate change is making the weather in the Arctic even more extreme, putting even more animals at risk.

Animals in danger!

Animals that are specifically adapted to survive in the cold Arctic climate are particularly at risk. These include lemmings, voles, arctic fox and the snowy owl.

Have you ever seen a narwhal?

Click to take a closer look!

A Narwhal

Take a more detailed look at some of the Arctic’s more amazing animals!

And keep scrolling down the page!  We have lots more exciting information underneath the Arctic animals…

Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf

Photograph by R.Raab

World Wildlife Fund

Cool Antarctica

Arctic Hare

Arctic Hare

Photograph from L. David Mech

Canadian Geographic

Animals Time



To learn more about walruses, go to:

Canadian Geographic

Active Wild

Ribbon Seal

Some Arctic land animals are struggling to stay alive

Land animals such as reindeer and caribou are expected to find it harder to find food and breeding grounds and their migration routes will have to change – thousands have already been killed by warm events in winter. Another problem is that more trees will be able to grow if the weather is warmer, and this will change the habitat to one which they are less adapted to.

Some types of fish could be harmed because of climate change…

The impact on marine animals will be mixed. Some fish species, including herring and cod, are likely to increase, but other marine life and their habitats could be harmed through increased oil extraction and shipping. Fish found in lakes and rivers (freshwater species) that are adapted to live in the Arctic will be badly affected with their numbers reducing. Arctic char, broad whitefish and Arctic cisco are among the fish threatened by a warming climate.

Why does this matter?

Arctic climate change will have an impact on biodiversity around the world because migratory species depend on breeding and feeding grounds in the Arctic.  Our planet’s ecosystems are finely balanced and a small change in one region can have a big impact everywhere else.

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