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Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge facts for kids

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Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN Category IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Aleutian Island Unit.jpg
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Aleutian Island Unit
Location Alaska, United States
Area 4,900,000 acres (20,000 km2)
Established 1980
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Website Alaska Maritime NWR

The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (often shortened to Alaska Maritime or AMNWR) is a United States National Wildlife Refuge comprising 2,400 islands, headlands, rocks, islets, spires and reefs in Alaska, with a total area of 4.9 million acres (20,000 km2), of which 2.64 million acres (10,700 km2) is wilderness. The refuge stretches from Cape Lisburne on the Chukchi Sea to the tip of the Aleutian Islands in the west and Forrester Island in the southern Alaska Panhandle region in the east. The refuge has diverse landforms and terrains, including tundra, rainforest, cliffs, volcanoes, beaches, lakes, and streams.

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is well known for its abundance of seabirds. About 75 percent of Alaskan native marine birds, 15 to 30 million among 55 species, use the refuge. AMNWR also provides a nesting habitat for an estimated 40 million seabirds, representing 80 percent of all seabirds in North America. The birds congregate in "bird cities" (colonies) along the coast. Each species has a specialized nesting site (rock ledge, crevice, boulder rubble, pinnacle, or burrow). Other animals present in this refuge include caribou, sea lions, bears, coyotes, seals, Canadian lynxes, beavers, foxes, muskrats, wolf packs, moose, walrus, river otters, marten, whales, Dall sheep and sea otters.

The administrative headquarters and visitor center are located in Homer, Alaska. In 1968, Simeonof National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.


The refuge is divided into five units. Clockwise around Alaska, starting in the southeast, their component territories include:

Gulf of Alaska unit

Alaska Peninsula unit

  • Sutwik Island
  • Semidi Wilderness (Semidi Islands: Aghik Island and Chowiet Island, et al.)
  • Simeonof Wilderness (Simeonof Island, part of the Shumagin Islands)

Aleutian Islands unit

Includes most of the land area of the Aleutian Islands, from Unimak in the east to Attu in the west

Bering Sea unit

Bio Tech Sarah holds a least auklet by Laney White USFWS
Refuge staffer holding a least auklet on St. George Island

Chukchi Sea unit


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