Catching winter’s wildlife: Where to see cold climate animals
Leah Walker April 24, 2017

Now is the time to see cold climate wildlife in its natural habitat. Climate change is believed to be destroying the natural habitat of animals which live all around the world, yet cold climate animals have been hit particularly hard.

Of course, these animals are not something you see every day. Wildlife which prefers to live in more extreme and cold climates tends not to show up nearer the equator unless it’s in a zoo. However, whilst it might be expensive to take a trip to see these incredible creatures, it can be more than worth the effort and expense.

Agness and Cez of eTramping have put together a list of four iconic cold-climate animals and where you’ll be able to see them best. Hint: head to where it’s cold.

Polar bears

Polar bears are an enigmatic creature for wildlife watchers. They’re fascinating to look at, cute to see on the TV, yet incredibly dangerous to stand next to. They’re one of the few animals which will actively hunt humans. Yet every year, thousands of people pour a lot of money into traveling to see this fascinating creature in its own habitat. Whilst many have traveled to the Arctic to see this incredible creature, there are other places to catch it as well.

One of these is Svalbard in Norway. The stunning glaciers of this place are a perfect home for several thousand polar bears to roam. Whilst it might be easier (and more likely) to see polar bears whilst on a wildlife cruise, it’s also possible to head to the east of the island on snowmobiles and explore polar bear territory. In this case, it’s always recommend to keep a large distance between you and any bears you happen to find. If you would prefer a cruise, then head to Svalbard in June to August. If you’re up for the snowmobiling, it’s best to head between February and May.

Another choice is Greenland. If you’re going to select this option, you have to select a cruise. It’s almost impossible to see any polar bears near inhabited or built up areas. Instead, any would be polar bear explorers need to head into the northern wilds. It’s best to head to Greenland between July and September if you want to see one.

Penguins

Penguins are as cute as they are funny. Watching a bunch of them gaggle around whilst preening themselves or trying to keep warm is a sight which a lot of people would probably spend a lot of money to see. Well, there are many ways to see Penguins and several places from which they can be seen.

If you want to see Penguin wildlife at one of the poles, it’s probably best to head on an Antarctica cruise, or some similar preset tour. These are usually the only ways into the area for average tourists, and they almost guarantee that you’ll see something. The Antarctic is a brilliant place to see Penguins because there are so many different breeds and locations for seeing them. There are 19 breeds of penguins in Antarctica (and a bunch of other reasons to come here as well).

If you’re looking to see the Emperor of all penguins, the Emperor penguin, you’ll want to head to the Weddell sea. If you’re more interested in its smaller, somewhat cuter, cousin (the King penguin) then you should stop by South Georgia Island. Of course, even smaller, and much cuter penguins (the Gentoo penguins), can be found at Port Lockroy, which also happens to be a great base from which to triangulate your penguin wildlife hunt.

Reindeer

Whilst Reindeer may not guide Santa’s sleigh at Christmas in real life, they can be a hard member of cold climate wildlife to come across. They jump quickly and run away if they hear anything they don’t know. Because of this, it can be hard to track one down for more than a few glimpses (unless it’s tied up).

However, there are a bunch of different places to catch reindeer, possibly one of the most well know being Finland. But then, a place which some might think is better than Finland for finding this cold climate wildlife is Greenland, a country whose only species of deer is reindeer. For thousands of years, reindeer have roamed free across Greenland’s… greenery. In fact, reindeer are the most widespread land animal across most of Greenland’s west coast.

One of the top recommended places for see reindeer is between Uummannaq and Paamiut. Here, you’ll be able to take part in an incredible hike, seeing the amazing natural beauty of Greenland, and you’ll almost be guaranteed a chance to catch this elusive animal.

Walruses

So, you want to see a Walrus? Known as the elephant of the sea, it’s not hard to see why. It’s ivory tusks and slow, mild demeanor resonate with that of an elephant. However, these cold climate creatures are not to be messed around with. Their size and ferocity can be dangerous if you’re not careful around them.

Nevertheless, a trip to see a Walrus is an intriguing one and, lucky for you, there are several places you can go to catch a glimpse of this giant flippered marine animal. One of these is Greenland. Here, they tend to be littered across the countries east coast. Considering that Greenland’s coast is over 44,000km in length, it still might not be as easy to spot one as you think. To maximize your chances, the best places specifically are Baffin Bay, Davis Strait and the Thule district.

Alternatively, you can head to Alaska, where they tend to come together around the remote Round Island. During summer, sometimes thousands congregate here, leaving you with a great photo opportunity. Another option is Cape Peirce, which usually has walruses between August and November. If you come a little earlier though, it’s always recommended to visit Round Island first.

What’s your favorite cold climate animal?

Agness and Cez are travel bloggers of eTramping – a source of knowledge who everyone who looks for intensive and unique travel experiences across the world. Hailing originally from Poland, they have been together on the road since 2011 and it doesn’t seem like they are planning to stop anytime soon! They love to visit unique travel destinations that everyone should include in their bucket lists and Antarctica has been one of them!

Leah Walker

Leah’s a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that’s in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah’s thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don’t extend to speaking French. Yet.

1 Comments

  1. Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to see polar bears. They were fascinating to look at on TV so it’s a great feeling to know you can actually see them live. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. We had a great fun writing the piece for you! <3

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