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Yellowstone Wildlife

Wildlife in Yellowstone

You can see a variety and abundance of wildlife at Yellowstone. The diversity of animals within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is as great as that found anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. All the large mammals present when Yellowstone became a park are here today:grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, mountain lions, elk, bison, pronghorn, moose, and bighorn sheep. You’ll also see a large variety of birds, including bald eagles.

The best Yellowstone Wildlife viewing locations are Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, Mt. Washburn, and Hayden Valley.

Yellowstone has one of the largest elk herds in North America.
Yellowstone has the largest free-roaming, wild herd of bison in the US.

Yellowstone National Park has

67 mammals
322 bird species, 148 species nest in Yellowstone
16 fish species, 11 native, 5 non-native
10 reptiles and amphibians
12,000+ insect species, including 128 species of butterflies
1,500+ species of native vascular plants

Be Careful around Animals

Wild animals are dangerous. To protect yourself and wildlife, follow these guidelines whether you are alone or in a wildlife jam:

• Park in a turnout and make sure your car is completely off the road.
• Put your vehicle into park and engage your parking brake.
• Stay near your vehicle so you can retreat if the animal approaches.
• Do not stand in the road.
• Never surround, crowd, approach, or follow wildlife.
• Don’t block an animal’s line of travel.
• Do not run or move suddenly—this may cause predators to attack.
• If other people in the area are putting you in danger, leave the scene and/or notify a park ranger.
• Do not ever feed wildlife, including birds.

Be Safe and Legal around Animals

Stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears.
Stay at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals—including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, wolves, and coyotes.

References

This post incorporates text from:

Yellowstone – Mammals In the Park, 2007 http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/yell287.pdf

Yellowstone National Park, 2010. Yellowstone Resources & Issues.
NPS Division of Interpretation. Mammoth, WY

Yellowstone National Park Trip Planner 2010.
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/10tripplanner.pdf