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9 Incredible Animals to See in the Arctic

  • arctic fox summer
  • atlantic puffins iceland
  • musk ox
  • polar bear svalbard
  • reindeer
  • bearded seal svalbard
  • walruses svalbard
  • humpback whale arctic
  • brunnichs guillemot
For those willing to brave chilly temperatures and occasional harsh weather, traveling to the Arctic offers many rewards: tundra dotted with tiny wildflowers, craggy peaks shrouded year-round in snow, spectacular fjords carved by ice -- and some of the hardiest wildlife on the planet.

Polar bears are probably the first animals you think of when you imagine the Arctic, but there are numerous other creatures to discover here, from reindeer and walruses to seabirds that leap off cliffs before they're even big enough to fly.

I spotted many of these animals on a recent cruise with Quark Expeditions to Svalbard, Norway. Other prime spots for observing Arctic wildlife include Greenland, Iceland, and the northernmost reaches of Canada and Russia. Click on any image to start the slideshow and get inspired.

--written by Sarah Schlichter