Elisabeth Kruger

Senior Program Officer, Arctic Wildlife

Elisabeth Kruger
Media inquiries: News And Press Page

Elisabeth works at the forefront of Arctic conservation, mitigating threats to the wildlife of coastal Alaska. As WWF’s Arctic and Bering Sea Program Officer, she spends much of her time connecting the dots between polar bears, climate change and indigenous communities throughout the region. Elisabeth leads WWF’s efforts to help polar bears and other Arctic marine mammals co-exist alongside people, in what’s becoming an increasingly warmer and ice-free Arctic. Her advocacy work for science-based conservation that also supports Alaska Native subsistence values, gives her the unique opportunity to collaborate with both federal policy makers and remote, Alaskan communities. Most of that work centers on international treaties and local management conservation plans that are vital to maintain some of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the United States.

Prior to joining WWF, Elisabeth travelled to Russia as a Fulbright scholar, landing in Irkutsk, where she spent the next four years immersed in the culture, ecology, and natural beauty of the Siberian wilderness. Still enamored with life at the edge of civilization, Elisabeth then moved from Siberia to Alaska and began her work with WWF.

In her work with WWF, Elisabeth strives to increase knowledge and understanding of wildlife populations in Alaska and around the Arctic, provide tools for continuing coexistence of wildlife in the Arctic and the people who depend on wildlife resources, and enable sustainable populations of wildlife to thrive as the Arctic changes. From working with polar bear patrols in remote Arctic villages to drafting federal conservation strategy as a member of the Polar Bear Recovery Team, Elisabeth brings her passion for wildlife conservation to her job every day.

Elisabeth also enjoys photography, so you’re more likely to see her behind the lens than in front of it!

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw a polar bear from a research helicopter. Later, a young bear approached our vehicle, stood on his hind legs and looked straight at me. The tables were reversed. He was studying me. Conservation of intelligent, charismatic species isn’t black and white. I’m inspired by people who research the best science and indigenous knowledge and create a world where people and wildlife live in harmony.”

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Reporting Live from the Bering Strait

WWF’s resident polar bear expert, Elisabeth Kruger, says hello from the shores of the Bering Strait in Wales, Alaska. She speaks about the lack of sea ice in the Bering Strait for that time of year and her work with the Wales polar bear patrol, which aims to keep people safe from polar bears and polar bears safe from people.

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Media inquiries: News And Press Page


Senior Program Officer


• Bachelor of Arts cum Laude, Russian, Grinnell College
• Fulbright Scholar, Irkutsk, Russia
• Baikal Academy of Photography
• Irkutsk State University
• Irkutsk State Technical University

Areas of Expertise

• Polar bear conservation
• Human-wildlife conflict
• Collaborative wildlife management
• Population dynamics in a changing environment
• Multilateral conservation treaties and policy
• Transboundary conservation
• Community-based conservation
• Siberia and the Russian Far East
• Strategic planning