Pribilof Islands

The Pribilof Islands are an archipelago of volcanic origin in the U.S. state of Alaska. They are located north of the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea.

Geography and population

The Pribilof Islands are politically Alaska and consist mainly of the two inhabited islands of St. Paul and St. George. There are also three small uninhabited islands that lie close to the Saint -Paul Island: Otter, Walrus and Sea Lion Rock. On the larger island of St. Paul about 450 people on St. George live about 125 people. The Pribilof Islands are accessible only by boat or from the airport to St. Paul. Due to the location of the islands, there is about 300 days before in fog, which makes aircraft landings. The islands cover an area of ​​approximately 200 km ².


Even before their sighting 1767 by Joan Syndrome and visiting 1788 by Gavriil Pribylow the islands were used by the Aleuts as a base for hunting; this is evidenced by archaeological findings, for example, on the island of St. Paul. You can still find traces of simple huts, whose roofs were made ​​of whalebone and animal skins.

Pribilof reported on his return about the large number of Northern fur seals. As a result, members of the people of the Aleutian Islands were resettled by the Russians for their fur animal hunting of Umnak and Unalaska on the Pribilof Islands. 1825 and 1830, the two towns were founded St. Paul and St. George. 1867 the USA bought the archipelago of Russia with Alaska ( Alaska Purchase ). Between 1890 and 1910, the Company North American Commercial Company had a monopoly on the seal hunt, and cut it the stocks of fur seals almost completely out; the stock of sea otters was extinguished. It was not until 1966, the commercial seal hunting was banned. Only the indigenous people living here is authorizing hunting and killing of about 1,000 animals per year.


The main industry is fishing and in particular from its catch of halibut and king crab.


The rocky islands are covered treeless and covered with grass or other plants of the tundra zone. Frequently here are lupins to find on the beaches you meet regularly on wild arnica.


In addition to the approximately 1 million individuals counted population of fur seals are mainly the rich birdlife ( Schopfalke, Rotschnabelalk, Horned Puffin, kittiwakes, snowy owl ) is important. So far, 120 different bird species have been identified and each year there are about 2 million seabirds to breed here. Furthermore, it can be observed on the islands regularly the arctic fox in the hunt in the bird colonies.

A special feature is the rare Pribilof sand Pieper.