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Books About Northern Wildlife

Recent Mammals of Alaska
by Stephen O. MacDonald and Joseph A. Cook
399 pages
University of Alaska Press, 2010.

From the polar bear and the gray wolf to the walrus and river otter, there are 115 species of mammals in Alaska that have never been fully catalogued until now. Through extensive fieldwork and research, biologists Cook and MacDonald have compiled the first comprehensive guide to all of Alaska’s mammals, large and small. Detailed entries for each species include distribution and taxonomic information, status, habitat, and fossil history. Appendices include quick reference listings of mammal distribution by region, specimen locations, conservation status, and the incidence of Pleistocene mammals. The guide is generously illustrated with line drawings by Alaskan artist W. D. Berry and includes several maps indicating populations and locations of species.

Alaska's Mammals: A Guide to Selected Species
by Dave Smith and Tom Walker
94 pages
Alaska Northwest Books, 1995.

Intriguing natural history facts and winning photos introduce readers to 35 sea and land mammals, from caribou, to humpback whales, to walrus.

The Biology of Polar Regions
416 pages
Oxford University Press, 2008.

This book offers a concise but comprehensive introduction to polar ecology, and incorporates a detailed comparison of the Arctic and Antarctic systems, with a particular emphasis on the effects of climate change, and describes marine, freshwater, glacial, and terrestrial habitats. This breadth of coverage is unique in the polar biology literature. "This is a masterful synthesis of information across many disciplines about the two polar regions giving, as intended, a readily accessible overview that deserves a long future role as the foundation to the teaching and understanding of polar biology." (Trends in Ecology and Evolution)

Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd
by Karsten Heuer
240 pages
Milkweed Editions, 2008.

The author and his wife follow the Porcupine caribou herd from its wintering grounds to the calving area in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and back again.
Also see the Walker edition for 9-12 year olds, and the Being Caribou DVD.

by Nancy Gibson (Voyageur Press, 1996)
"Wolves" provides a well-rounded introduction to Canis lupus, as well as being entertaining reading and a visual treat, and will be a valuable addition to school libraries in particular. To my review of this book. Paperback.

A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife
by Richard Sale and Per Michelsen
400 pages
Firefly Books, 2006.

Illustrated by over 450 high quality colour photographs plus art renderings, this carefully-researched volume is a thorough examination of the region and its wildlife.

Scats and Tracks of Alaska Including the Yukon and British Columbia
by James Halfpenny
192 pages
Falcon, 2007.

Subtitled "A Field Guide to the Signs of Sixty-Nine Wildlife Species", this guide will help you determine which mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians have passed your way and could still be nearby. Inside you’ll find easy-reference descriptions with precise measurements and detailed illustrations of scats, tracks, and gait patterns; an identification key and glossary of tracking terms; and thorough instructions for documenting your finds.

The Nature of Alaska: An Introduction to Familiar Plants, Animals & Outstanding Natural Attractions
by James Kavanagh and Raymond Leung
176 pages
Waterford Press; 2nd edition, 2006

This book is a complete resource tool for the amateur as well as the avid nature lover. Color illustrations of species, maps of parks and sanctuaries, and a glossary offers on-the-go information.

The World of the Polar Bear
by Norbert Rosing
192 pages
Firefly Books, 2006.

One of the finest coffee-table books about the Arctic's most charismatic inhabitants.