Arctic Wildlife

Iconic, extraordinary & sometimes unexpected wildlife


Watch the best wildlife encounters of 2017—then join us to experience them firsthand

Each Arctic adventure tour offers unique wildlife spotting opportunities
To see a polar bear in the wild, the Arctic’s apex predator, is without a question a life-list must for many. Choose any of our Svalbard itineraries—Land of the Ice Bear: An In-Depth Exploration of Arctic Svalbard, Norway’s Fjords and Arctic Svalbard, or Svalbard, Iceland & Greenland’s East Coast—and venture into the sea ice where polar bears are most plentiful, as is their prey: the Atlantic walrus. Also, search for arctic foxes, reindeer, bearded and ringed seals, seabirds of every kind and look for a variety of whales: bowhead, humpback and blue under the midnight sun. And as we head into even more extreme latitudes like on our Exploring Greenland and The Canadian High Arctic and Epic 80°N itineraries we’ll add muskox and perhaps even the elusive narwhal to our wildlife list. 

If you choose to embark on A Circumnavigation of Iceland, you’ll sail through massive shoals of herring that are a boon to aggregations of seabirds. Spot waders, wildfowl, and many more, plus our eagle-eyed naturalists will keep an eye out for cetaceans. And on Hot Springs and Icebergs: Iceland to West Greenland you’ll search for minke and humpback whales. 

Explore the undersea wildlife—discover the unexpected, too
In the Arctic, National Geographic Explorer sail with an ROV and an undersea specialist, too. From the comfort of the lounge, you’ll watch video shot during your day’s adventures—a privileged glimpse into the planet’s benthic regions few, if any, have seen. We’ve discovered previously unknown cold-water corals in the fjords of Norway, and strange camouflaged fish lurking on the seafloor.

The lovely Arctic tern and other birds
If our polar ship shared an animal spirit guide, it would be the Arctic tern, which ranges like Explorer, from the northern Arctic summer to the southern Antarctic summer. In addition to the terns, the following species were sighted on last season’s Svalbard voyages alone: barnacle goose, common eider, northern fulmar, purple sandpiper, great phalarope (red), Arctic skua, great skua, glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, ivory gull, Brunnich’s guillemot, little auk, Arctic puffin and snow bunting. We look forward to adding extensively to this list in Greenland, Iceland, and the Canadian Arctic. And birders will especially love visiting these two hot spots: mist-shrouded Bear Island which is populated by thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls, and the Latrábjarg cliffs, Iceland’s largest sea cliff teeming with a huge population of razorbills, plus guillemots, puffins, white-tailed eagles, and many others.

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