From Lemming to Orca

Varanger is not only a home to countless species of birds, but also several mammals live in this northern area above the Arctic circle. They include all sizes - from the tiny Lemmings to massive Orcas. Depending on the biotope you are exploring, there is a variety of mammal species to discover.

The mixed, spacious forests of spruce, pine and birch of the Taiga are a perfect habitat not only for Siberian Tits, Hawk Owls or Pine Grosbreaks, but also a considerable number of mammals live there. Besides Lemmings, and Least Weasel the main attraction of the Taiga is unarguabily the Brown Bear. Sør-Varanger is known to hold the majority of the Brown Bear population of Norway. But also other famous european mammal predators reside in this biome, like Wolverine, Eurasian Lynx and Grey Wolf. Groups of moose can also be seen here, wading through the moor. Other mammals include Mountain hare, Red Squirrel, Pine Marten, Stoat, Least Weasel, Northern Bat and several species of vole and shrew.

 

The short growth and treeless landscape of the tundra, from the green costal area up to the stone Arctic stone desert in the centre of the peninsula, is the typical landscape of the Varanger peninsula. Compared to the southern Taiga, this biome holds only a few species of mammals. The mammals, that are most common in this area are definately Reindeers, which can be seen all across Varanger, up to the Arctic Coast. Also common for this area are Red Fox and Hares. Arctic Fox are very rare, and count yourselves very lucky if you see one (but do not share the information to others then the nature authorities, as they are a vulnerable species). 

The arctic coast is always a great place to look for whales, dolphins and seals. You have a good chance of detecting Grey and Harp Seals. The barent sea holds several types of cetaceans like Orcas, Humpback Whales, Habour Porpoises, Belugas and several other species.

 

Reindeer herding in Varanger is a nature based culture. Video blog:  A November visit to the Krampenes reindeer herding fences, near the Varanger fjord. A Biotope Vlog © www.biotope.no 2016