The Wildlife Program at Grand Canyon is as diverse and dynamic as the multiple life zones encompassed by the park. Five of North America’s seven life zones and three of the continent’s four desert types are represented here. The park provides habitat for 355 bird species, 89 mammalian species, and 56 reptile and amphibian species. The mission of the Wildlife Program is to preserve and enhance native wildlife populations and processes and to minimize human impacts to native ecosystems. Wildlife biologists have embarked on research projects designed to increase our knowledge of the dynamics of wildlife communities within the park. Research ranges from monitoring the California condor, the largest bird in the country, to determining the species composition and demographic structure of the park’s small mammal communities. Many studies focus on the interaction between human activity and wildlife communities in order to develop mitigation strategies to limit disturbance to biological resources. Biologists have tracked mountain lions on the South Rim since 2003 to relate patterns of lion movement to areas of human concentration. Biologists are studying habitat usage of bighorn sheep and Mexican spotted owls in areas frequented by visitors to the park. The Wildlife Program has also developed an extensive monitoring protocol keyed to recreation areas along the Colorado River. The Fire Wildlife Biologist works with the Fire and Aviation program to insure that fire management activities are designed to improve wildlife habitat. The information gained through these activities enables the Division of Science and Resource Management to provide park management with recommendations that will sustain the ecological integrity of the Grand Canyon.
Last updated: April 28, 2016