What we learned in Alaska
Did you Know That….

1. 10,000 years ago, Sea levels rise with melting glaciers. This is the first evidence of people living in Alaska.

2. Alaska is home to over 98% of the United States population of brown bears.

3. Black bears are commonly seen in the forested areas of Alaska. They have also been seen in every state in America except Hawaii. The color of the black bear varies from jet black to white. Black bears do not have a hump on their back, whereas brown bears do have a very distinguished hump on their back.

4. Today scientists agree that brown bears and grizzlies are members of the same species.

5. Chinook Salmon, also called King Salmon, is Alaska’s state fish.

6. The Humpback whale is the fifth largest of the great whale and is as big as a greyhound bus. This is the whale we saw in Southeast Alaska. The humpback whale has a flat, broad head with long dark BALEEN plates on each side of its mouth. BALEEN is a hard material that forms comb-like plates that extend down from the upper jaw of the Humpback whale. After the whale fills their mouth with water and food, they use their huge tongue (weighing as much as 2 tons in adults) to push the water out through the baleen and catch the food.

7. One of the ways Humpback whales feed is a method called BUBBLE-NET FEEDING. During bubble-net feeding, the whale locates the fish and dives below, discharging a circle of bubbles from its blowholes as it swims. As the bubbles rise, they form a noisy visible ring which disorients the fish, causing them to congregate in a circle. The whale rises from below, engulfing the food and bursting through the water’s surface with its mouth wide open. Sometimes several whales cooperate to blow bubbles to form the net when they are feeding together (see the picture on top).

8. Glaciers are sparkling rivers of blue ice. Alaska has more square miles of glaciers than the rest of the inhabited world. Today, Alaska’s glaciers cover over 3% of the state (approx. 20,000 square miles). This is greater than the whole country of Switzerland.

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