Are you interested in the most endangered Animals at the North Pole? We’ve compiled a list of fascinating animals native to this icy part of our planet.
Animals native to the North Pole are often called Arctic animals. This is so because the North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The ocean is also surrounded by many countries including America, Europe, and Asia. Because of this land connection these animals have the ability to migrate to other places as well.
However, the Arctic animals have been suffering from multiple crises due to climate changes, hunting, and oil drilling. All of which are due to human activities. Resultantly, some of the Arctic animals prefer migrating to other places. Those who cannot migrate due to their adaptation to cold conditions are suffering a population decline.
This article highlights the 17 most endangered animals at the North Pole which are severely affected by the Arctic crisis.
Ptarmigan is a beautiful bird that is considered a close relative of the prairie grouse. It belongs to a special family of grouse birds group that mainly consists of three different species. Their scientific name is Lagopus muta.
The birds mainly live in alpine and arctic tundras throughout the northern hemisphere. Additionally, they prefer to live in treeless areas in extremely frosty places. The white-tailed ptarmigan is a common species that live in the tundra of the North Pole.
Warmer winter conditions and global warming threatens the ptarmigan’s survival. Subsequently, their population is suffering from a serious decline and becoming increasingly fragmented.
Considering the continuous decrease in their population, the Center for Biological Diversity sent a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding the protection of all the species of this bird under the Endangered Species Act. However, this request was unfortunately declined.
#2 Polar Bears
The polar bear, scientifically known as Ursus maritimus, is a type of hypercarnivorous bear – which for many is synonymous with the North Pole. Such types of bears are more commonly present in the Arctic Circle. Polar bears are another critically endangered animal from the North Pole’s wildlife.
They are known as amazing carnivores and fall into the category of the largest extant bear species. An adult male bear’s weight can reach up to approximately 800 kg whereas a female bear is half of its size. Polar bears are only adaptive to cold temperatures which means they spend their lives on sea ice. Due to their complete dependence on sea ice, they are also considered marine mammals.
Sadly, this wondrous marine mammal is on the verge of extinction. As early as 2006 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) labeled them vulnerable to extinction.
The primary reason for their population decline is climate change. Especially seeing as they have incorporated the use of pack ice into their livelihoods throughout their lives. Unfortunately, these ice packs are slowly melting due to climate change, leading to habitat loss for this white furry creature.
#3 Beluga Whale
Belugas whales, aka white whales, are one of the popular whales living on the northeast side of the arctic ocean. The distinctive feature of beluga whales is their bright white color. Also, they undergo an amazing transformation of skin color throughout their lives. Born in grey, they turn brown after some months and eventually turn to bright white when fully grown.
Another intriguing feature of the beluga whale is their set of around 40 teeth, making them a skilled predator. In turn, they are also common prey for polar bears and other big-sized whales. Humans also do commercial whaling of belugas. All these factors that are causing their rapid extinction.
#4 Prairie Pigeon
Prairie pigeons are yet another species that are critically endangered due to their habitat loss. Eskimo curlew is this beautiful bird’s scientific name.
This particular type of pigeon is a shorebird that mainly lives in the Arctic tundra of the north pole of the world. They constitute migrating birds that keep migrating depending on the seasonal change.
Witnessing their constant decrease in numbers, the IUCN has added them to the list of critically endangered animals a long time ago. Although, some unreliable sources also tell that they have already become extinct as no specie of prairie pigeons have been seen for a very long time.
However, please note that the official authorities have not announced their extinction yet.
Similar to polar bears, walruses are fully dependent on ice packs for their survival. Walruses are especially in need of ice packs for the survival of their calves. However, due to extreme climate conditions and global warming, the ice is thawing at alarming levels which is a massive threat to the Walrus.
They normally live in the frosty zones of the Arctic ocean. In addition, they can also be found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They preferably inhabit the ocean shores where the water is shallow and they can have icy floors for nurturing their calves.
Since they are fully dependant on the ice packs throughout their lives, evidently ice packs are a basic necessity of their survival. However, climate change is affecting the availability of ice packs making their survival difficult. Resultantly, their population has seen a massive decline.
#7 Musk Ox
The muskox, scientifically known as Ovibos moschatus, is another majestic mammal that is normally found in the far northern regions.
Specifically, it is native to the Arctic. The musk oxen are known to have shaggy-haired fur all over their body. For thousands of years they have inhabited the arctic region. However, their population has gone through a devastating reduction due to overhunting. At one point, their population dropped to just 500 individuals.
Ever since the specie has been enlisted as endangered. However, some resources state that their current population is the stable number of 40 000.
#8 Wood Bison
The Wood Bison, also known as Bison bison athabascae, is a special specie of mountain bison that is mainly native to far northern regions. It is also called the wood buffalo or mountain buffalo.
This distinct northern subspecies is a very rare specie of buffalos that was enlisted as threatened under the Species at Risk Act in 2003. It was enlisted threatened due to their constant poulation decline. Later, the aurthoties added Wood Bison to the list of endagered animals.
#9 Snowy Owl
The snowy owl is another unique specie, commonly found in the regions near North Poles, which is nearing global extinction.
Their scientific name is Bubo scandiacus, but is commonly known as the white owl or polar owl. They belong to a large family of distinctive owls.
Due to the fact that they are native to the Arctic Regions of the North Pole they are also called Arctic Owls. It is one of the most unique and distinctive species of owls. The male snowy owls have pure bright white skin. Meanwhile, females usually have dark brown flecks on their white skin which grabs more attention.
In addition, they are migratory birds who keep changing their breeding locations. However, the sphere of their migration stays restricted to the Arctic regions. Their constant migration makes their population estimation quite challenging.
Still, the experts believe that the population of Snowy Owls is continuously decreasing. Experts also named global warming as the leading cause of their population decline. As a result, the authorities have enlisted this rare specie as vulnerable to global extinction.
#10 Caribou / Arctic Reindeer
Caribou or Arctic Reindeer is an animal of the far north that has been enlisted as vulnerable to extinction. Notably, Caribous are a special specie and the largest species of deer size. They are native to the Arctic tundra and many arctic islands.
However, the population of the Caribous is declining, and has been for over a decade. Multiple factors are involved in the constant declination of their population. An estimation indicates that Crabiou’s population has dropped from an estimated 4.7 million animals to 2.1 million, constituting a total loss of 2.6 million individuals.
Narwhals are another unique marine animal that is enlisted as one the most endangered animals existing at the North Pole. Narwhals are medium-sized wondrous whales that possess a fine set of teeth. Also, this particle type of whale is called the unicorn of the sea.
It is one of the toothed-whales that also has a long ivory tusk protruding from its head. This long ivory tusk on its head gives it a fascinating look. Apart from its one-of-a-kind look, the tusk also adds to its commercial value. It unfortunately becomes is fatal flaw as people overfish narwhals to sell their long ivory tusks.
Another interesting fact about Narwhals is that their colors keep changing as they age. Narwhals are born blue-gray in color, then change to blue-black as juveniles and then mottled gray as adults. Eventually, they grow all-white once they are fully sexually matured.
Narwhals used to be native to the Arctic regions closer to the North Pole. However, according to a recent survey, only three species are left in the Arctic regions by now. In addition, their population is still expected to suffer from a devastating decrease due to frequent ship collisions and climate change.
Therefore, the IUCN has purportedly added them to the Red List of critically endangered animals living at the North Pole.
#12 Arctic Peregrine Falcon
The peregrine falcon, scientifically known as Falco peregrinus, is often called peregrine. In North America, closer to the Northern Circle, it was formally named the duck hawk. It is one of the endangered species of falcons that belongs to the family Falconidae.
It is considered a large-sized falcon and has color variations on its upper and lower body. Their blue-grey back is contrasted with the white underparts and a totally black head. An insane flying speed of 320 km/h (200 mph) makes it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.
But, unfortunately, this record-fast bird is identified as endangered. A harmful pesticide called DDT is the major reason for the drastic population decline. The bird was formerly categorized in the list of endangered animals in 1984. Since then we have seen an 80% decline in their population, which is still expected to decline further.
#13 Sei Whales
Sei whales constitute another unique marine animal indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere. Having already been identified as the most critically endangered animal by IUCN, it is unfortunately very close to becoming extinct.
They are a unique type of toothed baleen whales. Moreover, Sei whales are the third largest baleen whales. Its scientific name is Balaenoptera borealis.
As with many other types of whales, this gigantic mammal is nearing global extinction due to excessive commercial whaling.
#14 Arctic Wolf
Scientifically the Arctic Wolf is known as Canis lupus arctos. Often, it is also called white wolf or polar wolf due to their strikingly white fur.
This fluffy creature is native to the High Arctic tundra of the Northern Pole. However, some of their species also exist in the Southern regions, although in much smaller numbers.
Previously, there was not really a buzz about their endangerment. However, a reliable source recently declared that the IUCN has recently added them to the Red List of Endangered Species.
#15 Ringed Seal
The ringed seal, scientifically known as Pusa hispida, is another Arctic animal native to the Northern Hemisphere.
It is a relatively small seal and belongs to the order carnivore of the Mammalia family. Their body is covered with a distinctive patterning of dark spots and they get their name due to having grey rings on its body.
Ringed seals inhibit snow-covered caves, typically preferring to build their own snow caves for breeding and protecting their little pups. The population of ringed seals started decreasing in the last few years. Following this decline, the ringed seals are now enlisted as endangered and protected under Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Wrapping up the Most Endangered Animals at the North Pole
Despite its glacial climate and frosty terrain we can see that the North Pole is still home to countless of amazing animals. Sadly most of them are in a precarious situation due to climate change – in other words it is yet another reason for us to be more caring about our beautiful planet and its creatures.
Thank you for reading this article! If you still want to learn more about endangered species from other corners of the world go and have a look at our article The Most Endangered Animals of 2022.