Whales of Svalbard

WHALES OF SVALBARD   Off the coast of Svalbard, it is not uncommon to see whales. Most often, they are belugas, or minke whales, but humpback whales and fin whales are also seen regularly around Svalbard. In the last few years the blue whale has also become more common. This is the largest mammal in the world! The bowhead whale ...

Seals of Svalbard

SEALS OF SVALBARD   The bearded seal is the largest of the Arctic seals. This seal is characterized by its moustache, rectangular body and relatively small head. Bearded seals are almost always seen resting on sea ice and rarely on shore. In areas free of hunters you can closely approach these seals when they are on the ice. Ringed seal, ...

Walrus

THE WALRUS   The walrus is one of the most spectacular marine mammals on Svalbard. From the 1600s, and for almost 350 years there was an intense hunt for walruses, especially because of the valuable tusks. The walrus was virtually eradicated from Svalbard in the early 1900s, but a few hundred survived on the east side. In 1952, it became ...

Arctic fox

THE ARCTIC FOX   Svalbard’s second largest predator on land is the Arctic fox. This curious little fox is highly adapted to a varying food supply. In summer it specialize in stealing bird eggs or chicks. In the winter it must endure long, cold days with little food, and sometimes encounters human settlements while in search of food. Today, there ...

Svalbard reindeer

THE SVALBARD REINDEER   Svalbard reindeer are significantly smaller than their relatives in Scandinavia, Russia, Canada and Alaska. They have shorter legs, more compact body, and are very well adapted to the extreme conditions of Svalbard. You will find reindeer mainly on Spitsbergen in the wide, long valleys that turn green in summer, but they do also venture into more ...

Mammals of Svalbard

MAMMALS OF SVALBARD   Twenty two different species of mammals live in or around Svalbard. On land and ice, you can meet Svalbard’s own mini version of the reindeer - the Svalbard reindeer, in addition to the charming arctic fox. The polar bear inhabits an area from the coast out to the sea ice, but is really in its element ...