Keep Wildlife Wild

Keep Wildlife Wild logo

Visiting Mount Rainier can be a wonderful experience. Part of your experience is enjoying the amazing wildlife and supporting habitat protected in the park. Mount Rainier is home to 65 species of mammals, 182 species of birds, and 18 species of amphibians and reptiles.

Though you are not likely to see all of them, there are a variety of birds and mammals you may encounter while in the park. Some of these animals are easy to spot, such as black-tailed deer grazing in the meadows. Other species take patience and a good eye to see, like the sooty grouse whose camouflage markings hide it from predators.

Knowledge of these different species and what is appropriate behavior around them will enhance your experience and protect both you and the wildlife from harm.

Biologists at Mount Rainier National Park have noticed a change in the natural behavior of the park’s wildlife. Animals have been fed by people and are now “food-conditioned”— meaning, they seek out people for food. They learn to steal from picnic tables, trash cans, and will even forage through your belongings. This behavior is unsafe for both wildlife and park visitors. Park staff need your help to stop this unnatural behavior and keep wildlife wild.

Feeding wildlife can be as direct as offering a bit of your lunch, to leaving your food or garbage exposed for animals to find. It may take just one experience for an animal to learn “people” equals “food.”

Wildlife depend on natural behavior for survival, once a wild animal becomes food-conditioned it loses its natural fear of people and public places. Not feeding park animals keeps you safe and the wildlife wild.

What’s the problem?

  • Food-conditioned animals will beg aggressively for food and may bite, causing serious injury and possible infection.
  • Feeding attracts and concentrates animals to areas frequented by humans, potentially spreading diseases to each other and to people.
  • Food conditioning attracts animals, which may then attract larger predators that prey on them, such as bears and mountain lions. Once these predators become used to humans, they may present a risk to humans and their pets.
  • Food-conditioned animals are at a high risk for being involved in vehicle collisions and may die as a result.
  • Feeding attracts large numbers of jays and ravens to areas, which then prey on other songbirds’ eggs and young.
  • Animals store food to survive during winter months, but human food does not store well. Animals that store human food may die as a result.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Always store your food, beverages, and toiletries in a hardsided vehicle, food lockers available in campgrounds, or bear-proof container.
  • Resist the temptation to feed wildlife and keep a safe and respectful distance.
  • Keep a clean campsite and pack out all food and garbage from the back country.
  • Place all garbage inside an animal-proof garbage can or dumpster.

Keep the "wild" in wildlife...


Show Your Support!

Mount Rainier has “Keep Wildlife Wild” buttons! Five different species of native wildlife (Townsend’s chipmunk, gray jay, Steller’s jay, black-tailed deer, and Cascade red fox) are featured on different buttons for visitors to wear in support of this important issue. Buttons are available in the Paradise and Sunrise park visitor centers. All donations support ongoing educational efforts to protect the wildlife that live in the park.

Other Resources

Keep Wildlife Wild Brochure


Last updated: December 5, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304


360 569-2211

Contact Us