Arctic Fauna & Flora

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Arctic Fox

Species

Circumpolar flora and fauna are listed by their common English name. Scientific genus and species ('Latin') names, other common names in English and Finnish are given where available.

Baffin Region Wildlife


Baffin Island has both year-round and summer visitor wildlife. On land, examples of year-round wildlife are barren-ground caribou Barren-ground Caribou Summary

Barren-ground Caribou are a subspecies of caribou that are found mainly in the Canadian territories Nunavut and the Northwes...
, polar bear Polar Bear Overview

The polar bear , also known as the white bear, northern bear, or sea bear, is a large bear native to the ...
, arctic fox Arctic fox

The arctic fox , also known as the polar fox, is a small fox native to cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere....
, arctic hare Arctic Hare

The Arctic Hare is a hare which is largely adapted to polar and mountainous habitats....
, lemming Lemming

Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic....
and arctic wolf Arctic Wolf

The Arctic Wolf, also called Polar Wolf or White Wolf, is a mammal of the Canidae family, and a subspecies of th...
.

Barren-ground caribou Barren-ground Caribou Summary

Barren-ground Caribou are a subspecies of caribou that are found mainly in the Canadian territories Nunavut and the Northwes...
herds that migrate in a limited range from northern Baffin island down to the southern part in winter, even to Frobisher BayFrobisher Bay

Frobisher Bay is a relatively large inlet of the Labrador Sea in the southeastern corner of Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada....
peninsula, next to Resolution Island Resolution Island (Nunavut)

Resolution Island is one of the Canadian arctic islands in Nunavut, Canada....
and migrate back north in the summer.

Polar Bear Polar Bear
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Ursus martinus


The polar bear , also known as the white bear, northern bear, or sea bear, is a large bear native to the ...
s can be found all along the coast of Baffin Island, but are most prevalent where the sea ice Facts About Sea ice

Sea ice is formed from ocean water that freezes....
is located as pack iceSea ice

Sea ice is formed from ocean water that freezes....
, where their major food source — ringed seal Ringed Seal Summary

The Ringed Seal or Jar Seal is an earless seal inhabiting the Arctic coasts....
s (jar seal) and bearded sealBearded Seal

The bearded seal or square flipper seal, is a medium-sized seal that is found in and near to the Arctic Ocean....
s — lives. Polar bears mate approximately every year with from one to three cubs being born around March. Female polar bears may travel 10-20 km (6-12 mi) inland to find a large snow bank where they dig a den in which to spend the winter and later for giving birth.

Visit National Geographic Footage Polar Bear vs Walrus Arctic fox

Arctic fox

The arctic fox , also known as the polar fox, is a small fox native to cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere....
that can usually be found where polar bears venture on the fast ice Fast ice

Fast ice is sea ice that has frozen along coasts along the shoals, or to the sea floor over shallow parts of the continen...
close to land in their search for seals. Arctic foxes are scavengers, and often follow polar bears to get their leavings. On Baffin Island, Arctic foxes are sometimes trapped by Inuit Inuit

Inuit is a general term for a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic coasts of Siberia, Alask...
, but there is not a robust fur industry.

Arctic hare Arctic Hare

The Arctic Hare is a hare which is largely adapted to polar and mountainous habitats....
are found throughout Baffin island. Their fur is pure white in winter and molts to a scruffy dark grey in summer. Arctic hares, besides lemmings are a primary food source for Arctic foxes and Arctic wolves.

Lemming Lemming

Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic....
s are also found throughout the island, and are a major food source for Arctic foxes, Arctic wolves and the snowy owl Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl is a large owl of the typical owl family Strigidae....
. In the winter, lemmings dig complicated tunnel systems through the snow drifts in order to get to their food supply of dry grasses, and lichen Lichen

Lichens are symbiotic associations of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner that can produce food for the lichen from sunli...
s.

The Arctic wolf Arctic Wolf

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Gulo gulo Arctic Wolf


The Arctic Wolf, also called Polar Wolf or White Wolf, is a mammal of the Canidae family, and a subspecies of th...
is also a year-round resident of Baffin Island. Unlike the grey and brown wolves in the southern climes, Arctic wolves often do not hunt in packs, although a male-female pair may hunt together.

In the water (or under the ice) the year-round visitors are mainly the ringed seal.

The ringed seal Ringed Seal

The Ringed Seal or Jar Seal is an earless seal inhabiting the Arctic coasts....
is a year-round resident of Baffin Island, where it lives off-shore within 8 km (5 mi) of land. During the winter, it makes a number of breathing holes through ice up to 8 ft thick by visiting each one often, and keeping the hole open and free from ice. In March, when a female is ready to whelp, she will enlarge one of the breathing holes that has snow over it, and create a small "igloo" where they whelp one or two pups. Within three weeks the pups are in the water and swimming. During the summer, ringed seals keep to a narrow territory approximately 3 km (2 mi) along the shoreline. If pack ice moves in, they may venture out 4-10 km (2½-6 mi) and follow the pack ice, dragging themselves up on an ice floe to take advantage of the sun.

Summer land visitors to Baffin Island all have wings and all come to nest. Baffin Island is one of the major nesting destinations from the Eastern and Mid-West flyways for many species of migrating birds. Waterfowl include Canada goose Canada Goose

For the Canadian outerwear manufacturer Canada Goose see Canada Goose...
, snow goose Facts About Snow Goose

The Snow Goose is a North American species of goose....
and brent goose Brent Goose

The Brent Goose, a goose of the genus Branta, is known in North America as Brant....
(brant goose). Shore birds include the phalarope Phalarope

The name Phalarope refers to any of three species of slender-necked shorebirds in the genus Phalaropus of the bird famil...
, various waderWader

Waders, called Shorebirds in North America, are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-fo...
s (commonly called sandpipers), murresGuillemot

The Brnnich's Guillemot, or Thick-billed Murre, Uria lomvia, is a bird in the auk family....
, and plover Plover Overview

Plovers are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae....
s. Three gull species also nest on Baffin Island: glaucous gull Glaucous Gull

The Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus is a large gull which breeds in the arctic regions of the northern hemisphere and t...
, herring gull Herring Gull

The Herring Gull, Larus argentatus, is a large gull which breeds across North America, Europe and Asia....
and ivory gull Ivory Gull

The Ivory Gull, Pagophila eburnea, is a small gull, the only species in its genus....
.

Long-range travellers include the arctic tern Arctic Tern

The Arctic Tern is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae....
, which migrates from Antarctica Antarctica Summary

Antarctica is the southernmost continent and encompasses the South Pole....
every spring. The variety of water birds that nest here include coot Coot

The coots are medium-sized water birds which are members of the rail family....
s, loon Loon

The loons or divers are a type of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Europe....
s, mallard Mallard

The Mallard.jpg|FemaleImage:Female_mallard_with_ducklings.jpg|Female with young ducklings...
s, and many other duck species.

Water species that visit Baffin Island in the summer are:

Harp seal Harp Seal

The Harp Seal, is a marine mammal of the family Phocidae that is found in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans....
s (or saddle-backed seals), which migrate from major breeding grounds off the coast of Labrador Labrador

Labrador is a region of Atlantic Canada....
and the south-east coast of Greenland Greenland

Greenland is a self-governed Danish territory....
to Baffin Island for the summer. Migrating at speeds of 15–20 km/h (9-12 mph), they all come up to breathe at the same time, then dive and swim up to 1–2 km (0.6-1.2 mi) before surfacing again. They migrate in large pods consisting of a hundred or more seals, to within 1–8 km (0.6-5 mi) of the shoreline, which they then follow, feeding on crustacean Crustacean

The crustaceans are a large group of arthropods , usually treated as a subphylum ....
s and fish.

WalrusWalrus

Walruses are large semi-aquatic mammals that live in the cold Arctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere....
, which actually do not migrate far off land in the winter. They merely follow the "fast ice", or ice that is solidly attached to land, and stay ahead of it as the ice hardens further and further out to sea. As winter progresses, they will always remain where there is open water free of ice. When the ice melts, they move in to land and can be found basking on rocks close to shore. One of the largest walrus herds can be found in the Foxe Basin Foxe Basin

Foxe Basin is a shallow portion of Hudson Bay, Canada, located between Baffin Island and the Melville Peninsula....
on the western side of Baffin Island.

Beluga Beluga

The Beluga Whale or White Whale is an Arctic and sub-arctic species of cetacean....
or white whale Whale

The term whale is ambiguous: it can refer to all cetaceans, to just the larger ones, or only to members of particular families...
s migrate along the coast of Baffin Island as some head north to the feeding grounds in the Davis Strait Davis Strait

Davis Strait lies between mid-western Greenland and the Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut....
between Greenland and Baffin Island, or into the Hudson Strait Hudson Strait

Hudson Strait links the Atlantic Ocean to Hudson Bay in Canada....
or any of the bays and estuaries in between. Usually travelling in pods of two or more, they can often be found very close to shore (100 m, 300 ft, or less), where they come up to breathe every 30 seconds or so as they make their way along the coastline eating crustaceans.

Narwhal Narwhal

The Narwhal is an Arctic species of cetacean with a body similar to that of a Beluga whale and Irrawaddy Dolphin....
s, which are known for their long, spiraling tusks (males only), can also be found along the coast of Baffin Island in the summer. Much like their beluga cousins they may be found in pairs or even in a large pod of ten or more males, females and newborns. They also can be often found close to the shoreline, gracefully pointing their tusks skyward as they come up for air. When they first arrive, the males arrive a few weeks ahead of the females and young.

The largest summer visitor to Baffin Island is the bowhead whale Bowhead Whale

The Bowhead Whale, also known as Greenland Right Whale or Arctic Whale, is a marine mammal of the order Cetacea....
. Found throughout the Arctic range, one group of bowhead whales are known to migrate to the Foxe Basin, a bay on the western side of Baffin Island. It is still not known whether they visit for the lush sea bounty or to calve Calf

A Calf is the young of an animal....
in the Foxe Basin.




Arctic Flora
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Mountainavens
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Hjortron
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Scotspine shoot
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Purpsxifrage