Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park
Bald EagleAmerica's official bird is a nesting resident of Yellowstone National Park, and one of 330 species that have been documented in the park to date. While it's no longer on the federal list of endangered species, the noble raptor -- along with the peregrine falcon and the osprey -- receive special monitoring by the park. The extra attention has paid off, but the news isn't good. Research has revealed a recent decline in successful bald eagle nest sites in and around Yellowstone. Researchers think that the downturn is linked to a decline in the park's population of cutthroat trout, which are a vital part of the bald eagle diet.
Grizzly Bearseasonal restrictions that prohibit human entry to different areas. This is to protect visitors and allow bears space to "pursue natural behavior patterns free from human disturbance." If you do happen upon a grizzly, make sure to keep your distance -- at least 100 yards away. Familiarize yourself with Yellowstone's bear precautions to prevent incidents and minimize your risk of encountering a bear.
Elkapparent reduction in the Northern Yellowstone elk herd. However, some experts say that a diminished elk population isn't a bad thing, since a smaller herd leaves more room for the animals to thrive.
Cutthroat TroutYellowstone Lake is the epicenter of the largest inland population of cutthroat trout in the world. Known by their distinct orange, red or pink linear markings behind their gill plates, cutthroat trout are native to the Great Basin, and Rocky and Cascade mountain ranges of the American West, where geographic isolation has given rise to a number of distinct subspecies. Yellowstone is, as one might expect, the hub of its own subspecies' ecosystem, where a number of larger animals (like bears and birds of prey) depend on the trout for food. Unfortunately, invasive species -- such as other kinds of trout -- and other factors threaten this vital link in Yellowstone's food chain. The park's fisheries program is countering these threats through direct, aggressive intervention, but it's important for anglers to cooperate.