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Gift from the Ice - Japans Wild North

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The Shiretoko National Park, on the northern tip of the Japanese peninsular, is a little-known paradise for wild animals and birds. Deservedly designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park’s stunning biodiversity relies on the delicate balance of the changing seasons, and the drifting pack ice that descends in winter. 

Hundreds of brown bears roam through the park in autumn, gathering on the riverbanks to catch migrating salmon. Winter brings freezing temperatures and the return of Stellar Sea Eagles from Russia, who dive between the few remaining gaps of the pack ice to catch fish, as deceptively angelic sea snails hunt their prey. When the ice melts in spring, herring feed on the blooming plankton, enticing shearwater seabirds from Australia, fin whales, and orcas. With climate change altering the natural habitat of these creatures, what will become of Japan’s biodiversity hotspot?