2 / 10
For one of the smallest mammals, the sea otter can live its entire life without ever leaving the water. Sea otters are considered keystone species in their ecosystems, because they actually influence their environments. For instance, they eat sea urchins, which eat kelp in great abundance. When the sea urchins’ populations are controlled by sea otters, vital kelp forests can flourish. © Kevin Schafer / WWF-Canon

WWF: The Arctic

The Arctic – from the tundra, to the mountains, and to the sea itself – covers eight countries. It supports magnificent wildlife, the economy, and many cultures. Within the United States, the remarkable waters of the Arctic are home to whales, polar bears, walruses, and other wildlife found in few other places on Earth. The region is under threat from such factors as climate change, shipping, and oil and gas development. One of World Wildlife Fund’s top priorities in the region is protecting sensitive habitats and the people and wildlife that depend on them from these impacts. We bring together local communities, industries, governments, scientific institutions, and other conservation organizations to conserve this vibrant region. Go to www.worldwildlife.org/arctic to learn more about the Arctic and what you can do to help protect this beautiful place.