Olympic provides wonderful opportunities to view animals in their natural setting. Along with this opportunity come risks and responsibilities for park visitors. If you are fortunate enough to see wildlife during your visit, do not approach, startle, or feed the animal. Feeding, harassing, or molesting wildlife is strictly prohibited in the park and subject to fines.
All park wildlife are potentially dangerous to humans and can sometimes be unpredictable. Following some basic guidelines may help to lessen the threat of danger and will help to keep wildlife wild.
Species of concern at Olympic include mountain goats, black bear, and cougars.
Mountain Goats: Please submit a Mountain Goat Incident Form if you experience an encounter with a mountain goat, such as a mountain goat refusing to yield the trail, aggressive posturing, or approaching people at a distance of less than 50 yards.
Bears: Please submit a Black Bear Incident Form if you experience an encounter with a bear, such as a bear approaching you at a distance of less than 50 yards, a bear entering your campsite, or a bear that attempts to take your food.
Cougars: Please submit a Cougar Report Form if you observe or encounter a cougar in the park. Please report ALL cougar observations.
Mountain goats may approach people in the park. Some have grown accustomed to being fed and, as a result, have lost their fear of people. This can potentially lead to aggressive behavior. Goats may "stand their ground" if encountered on the trail. Mountain goats also crave the salts found in human sweat and urine. They may follow people to obtain sweat soaked clothing or hiking gear. Male goats may become particularly aggressive during the autumn and early winter breeding season (October through December).
Goats have sharp, potentially lethal horns.
Following these guidelines, as well as the general wildlife guidelines, may help reduce the risk of harm to you and other park visitors.
If you encounter a mountain goat within 50 yards, please report it to the closest ranger station.
Bats and Rabies
Bats are important and enjoyable parts of the Olympic ecosystem, where they are often seen as they feed on insects after dark. However, in the Pacific Northwest approximately 1% of bats are estimated to be infected with rabies and exposure can be fatal.
An exposure to rabies most commonly occurs when a person is bitten by a rabid animal. It can also be transmitted when the saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with a person's mouth, eyes, nose, or a fresh wound.
The risk of acquiring rabies is extremely low, but the disease is fatal if not treated early after exposure, making it vitally important to treat any possible threat of exposure seriously. When a person is exposed to rabies, timely administration of a vaccine known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can prevent infection.
Bats have small sharp teeth and may not leave a visible bite mark on the skin. Any bat encounter or exposure should be immediately reported to a park ranger and the person should consult a health professional.
The following guidelines can help minimize risk of rabies infection: