Including human beings, 82 mammal species, representing 63 genera, 28 families, and
8 orders occur or have recently occurred in Southeast Alaska. They comprise 116 subspecies
and monotypic species. Twenty-seven of these taxa are essentially endemic to the
region. Carnivores and rodents, with 22 and 21 extant species respectively, comprise
the most speciose groups, followed closely by whales with 20 species.
Seventy-six species are native and extant. Four extant species are not native (exotic)
to the region.
Endemism means that an organism (e.g., species) is restricted to a particular geographic
location, such as a specific island, habitat type, or other defined zone. To be
endemic to an area means that it is found nowhere else. For example, a unique form
(subspecies) of spruce grouse is endemic to the Prince of Wales complex of islands
in Southeast Alaska. Physical, climatic and biological factors can contribute to
Endemic organisms are not the same as indigenous organisms — a species that is indigenous
to somewhere may be native to other locations as well. An introduced species, also
known as a naturalized or exotic species, is an organism that is not indigenous to
a given place or area.
Island biogeography is essentially the study of the distribution and dynamics of
insular species. It provides a theoretical and operational foundation for the design
of research and management plans for wildlife in Southeast Alaska. Such plans in
this highly insular region still have not tuned in to the special attributes of island
life. To date, the vast Alexander Archipelago has played a limited role in the evolutionary,
ecological, and conservation biology literature, although this system is one of the
largest temperate archipelagos worldwide with 7 of the 15 largest US islands. The
region could become a model system for testing fundamental hypotheses related to
Small Mammal Checklist...
Who’s on What island? (PDF 408 KB) ...
Mammals and Amphibians of Southeast Alaska (PDF 4.73 MB)...