Fauna of Greenland

The wild Greenlandic fauna

We call Greenland Kalaallit Nunaat, the Greenlanders' Land. However, in reality it is just as much the Wildlife's Land.

The world's largest island contains a wealth of fascinating species of animal that have all adapted to the Arctic climate both on land and in the water.

Spectacular Arctic land and sea mammals

The polar bear is the biggest predator and perhaps the essence of the term wildlife. The white polar bear adorns Greenland's national coat of arms as the symbol for an extensive country that is also home to other distinctive animals such as the musk ox, the narwhal and the walrus.

Along with the reindeer, the musk ox is one of the land mammals which travellers have the greatest chance of seeing, especially in the vicinity of Kangerlussuaq. The polar bear is a rare visitor to inhabited areas, and is often seen in remote hunting grounds in North- and East Greenland. Wolves, arctic foxes, mountain hares and other small land mammals are also found, but are not often seen close to civilisation. Around 60 species of bird breed in Greenland, including the white-tailed eagle.

Whales can be seen all over Greenland, particularly during the summer months. It is most common to see fin whales, humpback whales and minke whales, in addition to which species such as the bowhead whale, blue whale and sperm whale also frequent Greenlandic waters.

Man and wildlife in Greenland

The land mammals immigrated, just like humans, from Canada and Alaska several thousand years ago. Both land and sea mammals have always been an important resource for Greenlanders. The animals have played a key role for their means of existence and in terms of their philosophy of life.

Today hunting is an important source of income for only a handful of Greenlanders. For the vast majority it is simply a hobby. Sustainable trophy hunting of animals such as musk oxen and seals is open to tourists at certain places in Greenland. The hunt takes place with qualified guides who ensure a proper hunt where nothing goes to waste.

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Nanortalik

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