Although there are periods of concentrated wildlife activity within specific areas of the Refuge, the overall density of most species is relatively low. Even the Porcupine Caribou herd, able to travel great distances very quickly, is unpredictable at the scale of trip planning and many visitors have been here several times before glimpsing a significant aggregation of the herd. Nevertheless, most of the areas of the Refuge provide range, in varying degree, to caribou, moose, muskoxen, wolves, grizzly bears, foxes, wolverine and a variety of waterfowl, raptors, owls, grouse, ptarmigan and various other birds and small animals, both resident and migratory.

In addition to these widely adapted animals are the more regionally specialized ones: the coast and Beaufort Sea are home to polar bears, various sea-mammals and birds; the Brooks Range provides good habitat for Dall sheep, and; the southern slopes and boreal forests are home to lynx, black bears, and many small animals such as beaver, rabbits, porcupine and marten among others.

Grayling are the most commonly caught sport-fish and are found in almost all of the larger rivers and many of the smaller ones on both sides of the continental divide. Arctic Char are found in sheltered waters of the coast and in some of the northern flowing rivers, especially during fall, and some of the larger lakes support good populations of Lake Trout.

A comprehensive list of the many animals that live, occasion or migrate through this country can be found at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s web-site for the Arctic Refuge listed in the Resources section of this site.