WCS North America

Arctic Beringia


Arctic wildlife have evolved to live in a cold northern climate – timing their lives to coincide precisely with snow and ice melt, freeze-up, and other natural rhythms.

Our vision for Arctic Beringia is its continued vibrancy as one of the most productive marine areas and landscapes on the planet. WCS aims to ensure healthy populations of Arctic wildlife such as polar bear, walrus, arctic fox, muskoxen, seals, and shorebirds continue to thrive. We are working to protect these and other wildlife from pressures related to a rapidly changing climate and the onset of new industrial development while ensuring the region’s indigenous communities can continue to depend on local resources for food and cultural vitality. 

Implementing conservation in such a rapidly changing environment can only be effective through working with scientists, local experts, and indigenous communities. Wildlife Conservation Society is committed to this approach. Our collaborations foster understanding of what new risks wildlife face and how species can adapt to their changing environment. We support the development of effective and dynamic conservation strategies at local, national, and international venues. WCS is advancing strategies to protect key Arctic areas, develop best practices for the industrial activities that do occur, and foster local stewardship of wildlife and habitats. The long-term health of both wildlife and people are key measures of success in this globally important region.

Conservation Approach

Advancing Research, Solutions and Collaboration

The Arctic Beringia Program has staff based in Fairbanks (Alaska) and Whitehorse (Yukon), with support in Russia from our Vladivostok Office and collaborating organizations – including Russian Academy of Sciences (Far-Eastern Branch). In addition, WCS staff based in New York, Toronto, and Bozeman (Montana), with expertise in global conservation, marine protection, communications, and international policy, supports and bolsters our efforts in Arctic Beringia. Collectively, and in co-ordination with partners, we bring these resources together at local, regional, national, and internationa:

Advance policy and stewardship solutions that minimize transportation impacts on Arctic wildlife

  • Assessing threats from increasing international maritime traffic to marine mammals in the Beaufort, Bering and Chukchi seas and seeking multi-lateral policy solutions
  • Supporting indigenous advocacy efforts aimed at mitigating bilateral threats to marine mammal conservation from Arctic shipping in the Bering and Anadyr straits 
  • Convening stakeholders from Alaska and Chukotka to assess bilateral oil-spill threats and advance community-based response capacity

Increase knowledge about how to support healthy wildlife populations in a changing climate

  • Synthesizing scientific research, management needs, and recommendations to conserve Pacific walrus on coastal haul-outs in Alaska and Chukotka
  • Measuring climate change impacts to muskoxen herds in Alaska and Chukotka
  • Monitoring baseline ecological status of coastal lagoons and fishery dynamics in northwest Alaska
  • Understanding ecological dynamics of Herschel Island in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region
  • Assessing the National Petroleum Reserve’s status as the North American stronghold for wolverines
  • Monitoring migration, productivity, and long-term trends of tundra-nesting birds in Alaska and Chukotka
  • Advancing policy-relevant research that addresses the needs of national and international conservation strategies across the Arctic

Mitigate the impacts of development and resource extraction on wildlife and their habitats

  • Reducing impacts of industrial infrastructure that artificially elevate the populations of predators (e.g., foxes) and increase predation on tundra-nesting birds
  • Research and policy engagement on the role of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, National Petroleum Reserve, and other public lands for Arctic wildlife
  • Evaluating restoration strategies for critical tundra habitats in developed areas of the Arctic
  • Minimizing the entanglement of yellow-billed loons in fishing nets in Chukotka and Alaska

Latest Publications

All Arctic Beringia Publications >>

Email from:
Email to:

The person you email to will see the details you enter in the Form field and will be given you IP address for auditing purposes


WCS Arctic Beringia
P.O. Box 751110 Fairbanks, AK 99775
(907) 750-9991

Key Staff

Martin Robards
Arctic Beringia Coordinator
Rebecca Bentzen
Arctic Beringia Avian Research Coordinator
Sally Andersen
Arctic Beringia Program Assistant
All Arctic Beringia Staff >>