greenland polar bear Photo credit Lysogeny CC by SA 4.0


Greenland is a very large country: to put the size in perspective it is the area of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom together. Alternatively it is roughly the size of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the worlds largest island, which is not a continent.


Land mammals on this huge island include:

  • Northern collared lemming
  • Greenland Arctic hare
  • Greenland Arctic fox
  • Polar bear (2200 on the West coast, East coast is less well known but estimated to have the same population or more)
  • Beringian ermine
  • Walrus (5000)


  • Hooded seal
  • Bearded seal
  • Harp seal
  • Harbour seal
  • Ringed seal
  • Barren-ground caribou (combined population of roughly 140,000)
  • Peary caribou
  • Muskox (15,000-27,000)

There are also around 200 wolves, and the population is thought to have lived on the island for 7600 years (oldest carcass found) however, caribou arrived 8900 years ago, suggesting that the wolf may well have arrived earlier. It is possible that the population has remained low, due to the lack of food, as there are not many species which live on the vast island (as you can see above).

Along the coast, a variety of whales can be seen. There are thought to be 16 species in the summer, but only 3 species are hardy enough to overwinter in the area. These are the bowhead whale, narwhal and beluga. In summer months the baleen whales which join them include blue whales, humpback whales, fin whales, bowhead whales and grey whales. Instead of upper teeth, the baleen whales have several long, narrow baleen plates, which the whale uses to eat. Toothed whales are characterised by their many small, pointy teeth. They hunt fish, squid or seals and use their teeth to hold on to the food. Opposite the baleen whales, toothed whales only have one blowhole on top of their head. Among the toothed whales, we find sperm whales, dolphins, killer whales, porpoises, narwhals and belugas.

It should be noted. that the human population is under 57,000

We will hope to bring you as much wildlife destinations as possible, as it is incredibly important for eco-tourism to take off in Greenland, as this is the more sustainable use of the wildlife in the area.

Greenland News

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