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Fortress of the Bear & More: A Sitka Wildlife Guide

Claudia C
4 min read

Sitka is overflowing with wildlife! You will not want to miss out on these animal-packed tours. Our nations national bird, the Bald Eagle, calls Alaska home and there is no shortage in Sitka! Iconic brown and black bears call Alaska home, but you will get to see another side of these gentle giants as they are rehabilitated and cared for by people who respect them! Don’t miss out on a lifetime experience with some rare Alaskan wildlife

Fortress of the Bear

You will not be disappointed with this experience! Get a front row seat viewing rescued bears and their new habitats! All the bears at the fortress were saved and given a chance at a new happy life! One of Fotress of the Bear's many residents waves hello! Keep reading to learn about the bears that live here Toby and her brother Lucky came to the preserve in 2010 after their mother was found dead from eating too much plastic garbage. Toby is the nurturerer of the group and is known for always wanting more food which she signs with her paws! Her brother Lucky was found with an injured paw which they think could have been from a fight with a larger bear. He was timid as first, but now is a crowd favorite and can’t be missed because of his pouty bottom lip! Chaik came to the sanctuary in 2007 after being rescued as a cub from a fishing lodge on Admiralty Island. His mother was killed after surprising an employee in the kitchen who acted in self-defense. He is beautiful and calm while also being the largest bear at the fortress! Smokey came in 2013 after being found in a staff break room and was caught on a episode of Alaska State Troopers! She was set to be euthanized, but with lots of social media posts, Smokey found a forever home at the sanctuary. Six-weeks later her sibling Tuliaan (or Tuli) was found and sent to be with her sibling. Tuli was severely malnourished when she was found at a total of 17 lbs with porcupine quills in her face. Her name comes from the native Tlingit vocabulary which means “gentle” and could not be more fitting. She maybe the smallest, but boy is she feisty! Bandit came from Juneau 4 days after Smokey in 2013 to take the place of Smokey’s missing biological siblings. He was a grumpy cub who was found hiding in a crab apple tree and tranquilized for capture. His heart has warmed and you can’t mistake him with the little white heart on his chest! Nuka & Nikiski also know as the “Seward Sisters” came to the fortress in 2018 when they were just 8 moths old. They were found after surviving 3 weeks in the wild together and transported to the Alsksa Zoo for treatment and spay surgeries. After a rocky transport to Sitka, they started to warm up to the staff. Nuka was the more curious cub, while Nikiski took time to gain her confidence. Don’t hesitate to take time out of your Sitka stay to check out these special bears, their unique personalities, and learn how to protect these wild creatures! If you'd like to check out this fascinating center as part of a tour, check out the Premium Sitka Scenic Tour.

Alaska Raptor Center

Learn from wildlife specialists about the rehabilitation that takes place for these incredible Alaskan birds right here in Sitka. This is a Sitka highlight that was established in 1980 out of backyard. The Raptor Center know covers 17 acres and helps more than 200 injured birds per year. They specailize in raptors which are birds of prey who catch and kill vertebrates, but they don’t turn away other wild bird in need. There are 24 year-round raptors who call this home such as bald & golden eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls. During your visit you can explore the natural eagle habitat which is home to Thor, Sunset, Titan, and Thor! It is nestled in a dense temperate rainforest with the Indian River running through it. Next, check out the flight training center and get a peek at the techniques used to get these birds back into flying shape. In this area, we are hidden from the birds so they can focus on their rehabilitation and can soon be released back into the wild! The Raptor Weathering Yard is where the birds can hang during the day and get a sense of being free in the outdoors. There are 9 residents who get to play in this habitat and they range from snowy owls to red-tailed hawks. There are a variety of perches and baths to mimic their natural habitats which help in their mental and physical health. This awesome canter allows you to see the ways we can help these creatures while taking you into the authentic Alaskan wilderness. To head here on an excursion, take a look at our Private Premium Sitka Scenic Tour.

Marine Wildlife in Sitka

Alaska is bustling with wildlife and there is no shortage to be found under the water. There are numerous marine animals in Sitka such as sea lions, otters, dolphins, and whales to name a few. In the summer months you can witness grey & mink whales along with orcas making their way through the Sitka Sound. Humpback whales can be seen in the months of March and April as they chase tasty krill and herring before migrating in the fall. Hop on the Sitka Marine Adventure for a closer look at the local marine life surrounding Sitka! The waters of Sitka are home to whales, starfish, seals, and more.

Claudia C
Travel & Marketing Guru
CC Christen is a world traveler but has rooted herself in NW Montana. She loves being in Alaska to ski and visit friends & family! CC is always looking for the next adventure and loves traveling with her dogs and boyfriend.

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