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Table of Contents Arctic

Arctic Safari

Animal pictures (select):

Muskox Polar Bears White Cariboe White wolves Fox White Hares
Birds Lemmings Arctic Char Beluga whales

Muskox herd, Eastern Axel Heiberg Island.

The barren Arctic North as scenic in wildlife as an African savanna wild park? It can be,  in the pristine wilderness of Northern Canada.

Canadian Arctic Islands

The dry Arctic dessert has no obstructing vegetation as the vegetation all stays close to the ground. Small juniper shrubs [1] grow horizontally and grass grows mainly in sheltered valleys. Also, the cold, dry and clean air gives an excellent  visibility. 

You can easily spot the  bigger wild animals. Most are white, which is a camouflage colour among the white snow patches which cover the area for 11 months per year. Only muskox are black like their distant cousins from the ice-ages, the yaks. A mature, healthy adult muskox  does not need a camouflage as it is no match for the only big game hunter, wolves. Polar bears only hunt for seals.

Most visible are the bigger mammals, small herds of muskox, lonely old muskox bulls, cariboes, alone or in small groups, foxes and numerous white hares. Wolves are less common as they need a large territory.

While camping for 5 summer seasons of two months each in many different locations on Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere Island in the eighties, I saw a lot of wild animals, even the extremely rare ones like the mythical white falcons, the so-called 'Gyr Falcons'.

The best area for spotting animals is at Buchanan lake on Eastern Axel Heiberg Island, see picture above, the bay of Mokka Fiord in the far distance (behind the salt dome). The few km wide flood plain between the sea at Mokka Fiord and inaccessible mountain ranges is the only North-South corridor on Axel Heiberg Island in the summer when the sea straits have no solid ice.

Birds are more common in the colder areas close to the Arctic Ocean like on Western Axel Heiberg Island as their are less prey animals like foxes and wolves.


This area is rarely visited by tourist and given the fragile nature it better remain so. E.g. a footstep in the muddy toundra will stay for tens of years. Moss and plants may need a 100 years to come back.

A Twin Otter plane could take you to the Lake Hazen National Park on Northern Ellesmere Island. Russian ice breakers also do a trip from Resolute Bay to Tanquary Fiord, South of lake Hazen,  through Eureka [1].

Prices are high, count on $10000 for the boat and $15000 for the plane, for 2-3 weeks only.


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