The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a must-visit destination to watch Alaska wildlife that you, otherwise, might never encounter.
How to Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
With global warming and damages caused by excessive human use of natural resources, more and more animals become vulnerable to modern dangers and unable to adjust to ever-changing world around them. Animal sanctuaries come to their rescue. Giving shelter and taking care of injured and abandoned wildlife for the rest of their lives is a driving force of such organizations. Although with a lot in common, these animal paradises differ from each other in many ways. So, some of them add specific functions and roles to their core mission. Others, on the other hand, introduce extra educational programs to teach general population about the world around them. Some centers include all of the above and a few unique features that make them unlike any other animal sanctuaries. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, that we are about to visit, falls under the last category.
About the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Address: Mile 79 Seward Hwy, Girdwood, AK 99587
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit organization. It focuses on providing quality care and the best environment for the injured and orphaned animals along with educational resources on how to preserve unique Alaska wildlife. The 700 acres (280 ha) animal sanctuary is located at the head of Turnagain Arm. You can visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on the way from Anchorage to Whittier or Girdwood.
Over its lifetime, the center went through several important stages. It all started in 1993 with the creation of a for-profit organization known as Big Game Alaska. With full concentration on protecting the troubled animals, in 1999 the sanctuary became a non-profit organization and added “dba the Alaska Wildlife Concentration Center” to its name. It stayed that way until 2007, when the center was officially renamed to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Inc.
Reasons to Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
A few things make the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center stand out among other organizations of its kind and make a visit here almost mandatory.
First, apart from providing permanent home to orphaned and injured wildlife, the sanctuary reintroduces some animals back into Alaska. So, elk and wood bison are just two species that received a rare opportunity to come back to their homeland.
Second, its pristine, picturesque surroundings create an illusion of wild Alaska, untouched and unseen, yet alluring and enticing. And thus, I highly recommend that you visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center at least for an hour.
Third, the center uses wide range of educational programs, tours, field trips, free lessons and curricular to raise awareness about Alaska wildlife and importance of preserving it.
Residents of the Center
A visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center enables you to see different kinds of the animals. Some of the most popular residents are wolves, black and brown bears, Alaskan moose, wood bison, Canadian lynxes, reindeer. Furthermore, elk, muskoxen, red foxes, porcupines, great horned owls, bald eagles, caribou, and coyotes are not strangers here.
In fact, the animals of the sanctuary are somewhat lucky to live in these large natural habitats. Although, fences separate different types of animals, there is still enough space for all of them to thrive. Most of the animals at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center are orphaned or injured. Moreover, majority of the residents were found and sent here as babies who, abundant by their mothers, could not survive on their own.
Interestingly, the animals at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center are not just individual species of a particular animal family. They are members of a big animal-people family with their individual names that have meanings and stories behind them. So, for the most part, the sanctuary’s four-legged and feathered friends are named after people that assisted in rescuing and transporting them to the center. At the same time, some animals bear the names of the places where they were first found.
The Animal Sanctuary that Speaks for Itself
Not one, but all aspects combined make the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center an animal sanctuary you must see at least once. The loving and caring attitude toward the animals is present in every corner of the center. The natural surrounding makes it easier for the new residents to adopt to their new permanent home. Together with the educational resources and tours, these are more than enough reasons to visit the sanctuary and get a little bit closer to wildlife in Alaska.