SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL [ ABN NEWS ] — In 2013, Alaska is offering unparalleled opportunities to view wildlife in their natural habitat. Ranging from self-guided bear viewing trips to birding basics, there is an excursion that is suitable for any visitor.
Bear-viewing boardwalk open to public
Located 49 miles south of Anchorage, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center completed the first phase of the Bear Education Awareness Research Sanctuary (BEARS), consisting of a boardwalk spanning the 17-acre black and brown bear enclosures. The BEARS boardwalk allows for guests to safely view more bear activity in the enclosures at the wildlife center. AWCC hopes to create additional excitement for visitors approaching Black Bear Mountain on the elevated boardwalk and to broaden the region`s offerings to learn about Alaska`s three bear species, allowing for an almost personal encounter with a bear.
Self-guided bear tours
For a do-it-yourself camping and sea kayaking experience, Juneau`s Pack Creek Outfitters provides access to Pack Creek Zoological Area on Windfall Island. Guests can spend three or more days exploring the old growth forest in the Tongass National Forest while watching for wildlife on land and in the water. The Pack Creek Zoological Area is located just one mile from the Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary where a viewing estuary and observation tower act as a gateway for viewing the large numbers of brown bears on Admiralty Island. The trip includes sea kayak rentals, some camping equipment, round-trip floatplane transportation from Juneau and an information packet on where to camp and how to explore Pack Creek and surrounding areas.
Alaska Wildland Adventures has a new tour for 2013 that introduces guests to Alaska birding, teaching birding basics and how to spot, identify and classify various species in Kenai Fjords and Denali national parks. The itinerary also includes wildlife viewing and options for guided hikes, kayak trips and small boat explorations.
Birding on the Aleutian chain
Unalaska`s resident birding and naturalist guide, Suzi Golodoff, is now offering year-round tours highlighting the various birds in the Aleutians and the natural history of the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor area.
Polar bear viewing
Known for taking guests on thrilling brown-bear viewing tours out of Homer, Bald Mountain Air also provides once-in-a-lifetime trips to Alaska`s Arctic coast to observe polar bears in their natural habitat. The day trips departing from Anchorage take travelers on a two-hour flight to the Native village of Kaktovik on Barter Island. Here, large groups of polar bears gather in the fall to wait for the sea ice to return and feed on the remains of bowhead whales harvested by the local villagers. Travelers will view bears by boat and vehicle led by an experienced Inupiat guide. Tours run on weekends or by special request for groups of four to 10 people mid-September to late October. Cost for the tour includes round-trip flight from Anchorage on the executive-style King Air, six to eight hours of on-ground guided bear viewing and dinner in Kaktovik.
Edited by Jose H Oliveira Jr
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