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Natchiq Grows Up

The Story of an Alaska Ringed Seal Pup and Her Changing Home

by Donna D.W. Hauser, Kathryn J. Frost, and Alex V. Whiting

Hardcover Price $27.00
Paperback Price $13.95
Ebook Price $10.95

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illustrations by Heather McFarland
contributions from John Goodwin, Cyrus Harris, and Pearl Goodwin 

“Indigenous people and scientists working together—and relying on different ways of knowing—has created opportunities to understand how ringed seals are responding to their changing environment.”
Donna D.W. Hauser, scientist and lead author of Natchiq Grows Up 

"An ideal title for the budding biologist"
Foreword Reviews


This is the story of Natchiq, the ringed seal pup, growing up in her snow cave on the sea ice in northern Alaska with her mom Siku. Interwoven with Indigenous Knowledge from Qikiktagruk Elders from northwest Alaska, Iñupiaq terms, and scientific findings, readers follow Natchiq’s daring escapes from predators and seal dogs specially trained to help biologists find ringed seals. 

Beginning in the 1980s, scientists started traveling to northwest Alaska to research the lives of ringed seals, bringing Labrador retrievers who could sniff out seals and their snow cave homes (called lairs) on the sea ice. Decades later, scientists partnered with the Iñupiaq people of Qikiktaġruk (Kotzebue) to learn more about ringed seals. They relied on a combination of Indigenous Knowledge and scientific techniques to capture and apply tags to understand the movements and behavior of ringed seals. 

But the Arctic homes of ringed seals are changing, and the long history of ringed seal science in the Kotzebue Sound proved to be just the beginning of long and cooperative relationships melding science and Indigenous knowledge. During 2018 and 2019, with unprecedented sea ice conditions, Qikiktagrumiut Elders and scientists returned to the ice to measure changes in the habitat available for ringed seal pups in the region. 


Donna D.W. Hauser is a research assistant professor at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she pursues interdisciplinary and collaborative research in marine ecology. She grew up on Denai’na land in Anchorage, Alaska where she sprouted her deep passion for Alaska’s amazing people, places, and wildlife. 

Kathryn J. Frost worked as a Marine Mammals Research Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game from 1975-2000 studying the natural history and ecology of seals and beluga whales in Alaska. She studied the winter ecology of ringed seals in the Chukchi Sea and Kotzebue Soundin the 1980’s; and worked with the Native Village of Kotzebue Environmental Program beginning in 2003 to develop a community-based seal research program to satellite tag ringed and bearded seals in Kotzebue Sound.

Alex V. Whiting developed the Environmental Program for the Native Village of Kotzebue in 1997. A major focus of the Program has been Kotzebue Sound ecology, including marine mammal research. The approach of the Environmental Program has been to create partnerships between the Indigenous Knowledge holders of the Tribe and outside researchers to undertake cooperative research efforts to understand the changing climate and the effects on the physical and natural environment of Kotzebue Sound.

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  • Hardcover Price: $27.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-64642-538-9
  • Paperback Price: $13.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-64642-539-6
  • Ebook Price: $10.95
  • EISBN: 978-1-64642-540-2
  • Publication Month: December
  • Publication Year: 2023
  • Pages: 48
  • Illustrations: 28 color photographs, 12 color illustrations
  • Discount Type: Trade
  • Author: by Donna D.W. Hauser, Kathryn J. Frost, and Alex V. Whiting
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-64642-539-6
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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