Arctic Beringia lies at the juncture of the eastern and western hemispheres, encompassing an area of tundra and shallow marine shelf areas that extend from the Kolyma River in the Chukotka region of the Russian Federation, across Alaska, and to the Banks Island in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada.
The region’s tundra, coastal, and marine habitats are home to most of what we would imagine as quintessential Arctic wildlife – polar bears, bowhead and beluga whales, walruses, ringed and bearded seals, muskoxen, arctic foxes, and caribou. The numbers of wildlife that migrate through this region each year are staggering – hundreds of thousands of caribou, over a hundred and fifty thousand walruses, thirteen thousand bowhead whales, and millions of shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds. For species like the Western Arctic bowhead whale and Pacific walrus, this represents their entire global population. A diverse array of indigenous cultures – including the Chukchi, Siberian Yupik, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Central Yup’ik, Iñupiat, Inuit, Athabaskan, and Aleut – are closely connected with and reliant upon this region’s wildlife and environment for food security and cultural continuity and vitality.