The Arctic is in danger—it's warming at twice the rate of the rest of the Earth, and offshore oil and gas exploration are threatening its pristine natural habitats.
In honor of World Oceans Day, the World Wildlife Fund is showcasing five incredible marine species who have adapted to life in the Arctic's frigid waters and are especially susceptible to regional temperature change. We hope they inspire you to take action against climate change:
Polar bears spend most of their lives on the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. They have a thick layer of body fat and a water-repellent coat that insulates them from the frigid temperatures and allows them swim up to 200 miles at a time.
Bowhead whales live in the Arctic all year round, and their movements are influenced by the freezing and melting of sea ice. They are capable of breaking through sea ice at least 7 inches thick with their large skulls and powerful bodies.
Narwhals, also known as unicorns of the sea, are slow-moving whales that are easily recognizable by the long tusks protruding from their heads. They depend on sea ice to hide them from predators like killer whales.
Belugas are social whales that spend their lives in pods. Also referred to as canaries of the sea, they have bulbous foreheads that can change shape to give off chirps, clicks, whistles, and squeals. This unique adaptation helps them communicate with other belugas and find food through echolocation.
Walruses are fin-footed mammals with brilliant white tusks that help them keep breathing holes open in the sea ice, fight, and haul themselves out of the water.