Mountain lion (Puma concolor): It is unlikely that there is a breeding population of mountain lions in Alaska, but periodic sightings indicate that some mountain lions venture into the state. Generally the state receives two or three reports of mountain lion sightings per year. Reports have come from as far northwest as Homer,but the most credible reports come from the Southeast, which is relatively near an established population of mountain lions in British Columbia. Populations of mountain lions have been increasing in the American West and in Canada, and biologists have speculated that within fifty years Alaska could have a breeding population of its own.
Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) are found in treeless coastal areas in the Aleutian Islands and on the state's west and north coasts. Two color morphs occur in the state: white-morph foxes are white in the winter and brown in the summer, while blue-morph foxes are charcoal-colored in summer and a somewhat lighter gray in winter. During the summer, Arctic foxes feed mainly on small animals, but during the winter foxes often venture onto sea ice to eat seal carcasses left by polar bears. Arctic foxes are sometimes trapped for fur; the fur trade is important to many coastal Native villages, though demand for Arctic fox fur has decreased in recent years.
Red fox (Vulpes vulpes): Red foxes are found throughout Alaska, except for the Western Aleutians, some islands in Southeast Alaska, and Prince William Sound. It is an introduced animal on many of the state's islands due to turn of the 19th to 20th century fox farming. Red foxes, which are most common south of the Arctic tundra, prefer low marshes, hilly areas, and broken country. Where the red fox's range overlaps with that of the Arctic fox, the red fox dominates. In Alaska, most red foxes are of the characteristic red color phase, but other color phases—which comprise up to 2% of foxes in certain northern areas—include "cross", silver, and black. Predators of red foxes include wolves, lynx, coyotes, wolverines, men (primarily as trappers), and perhaps bears.
Coyote Canis latrans): Coyotes have only been seen in Alaska since the early 20th century; they were originally reported in Southeast Alaska, but since have expanded across the state. The state's coyote population peaked in the 1940s and has declined in many areas since. Coyotes are most common in the Kenai Peninsula, the Mat-Su Valley, and the Copper River Valley and are rare north of the Yukon River. In Alaska, coyotes' diets consist primarily of snowshoe hares, rodents, and carrion; predators of the young include great horned owls, bald eagles, and golden eagles; adults are preyed upon by wolves, bears and cougars. The state offered bounties for killing coyotes in the early 20th century (as did other states); the bounty program ended in 1969, and today a small number of coyotes are trapped in Alaska each year. Because coyotes are very secretive, they are rarely seen by Alaska residents.
Gray wolf (Canis lupus): There are two subspecies of wolves in Alaska; the Mackenzie Valley wolf and Arctic Wolf. Wolves in the southeast are darker and smaller than those in northern regions. Wolves are found on the mainland of Alaska, Unimak Island, and on most major islands in the southeast. There is approximately one wolf per 25 square miles (65 km2) in Alaska. In recent years, efforts to control wolf population through aerial hunting have been a source of controversy in the state.
Black bears, which are much smaller than the state's brown bears, are found in larger numbers on the mainland of Alaska, but are not found on the islands off of the Gulf of Alaska and the Seward Peninsula. Black bears have been seen in Alaska in a few different shades of colors such as black, brown, cinnamon, and even a rare blue shade. They are widely scattered over Alaska, and pose more of a problem to humans because they come in close contact with them on a regular basis. They are considered a nuisance because they frequently stroll through local towns, camps, backyards, and streets because of their curiosity and easy food sources such as garbage. Black bears didn't live in Alaska until the end of the last ice age.
Alaska contains about 98% of the U.S. brown bear population and 70% of the total North American population. Brown bears can be found throughout the state, with the exclusion of some outlying islands. Most brown bears in Alaska are grizzly bears (the subspecies of brown bear found throughout North America), but Kodiak Island is home to Kodiak bears, another subspecies of brown bear that is the largest of all the Brown Bears and second only to the Polar Bear in size. The density of brown bear populations in Alaska varies according to the availability of food, and in some places is as high as one bear per square mile.More information...