Olympic National Park and its surroundings are home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Just offshore, whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and sea otters feed in the Pacific Ocean. Invertebrates of countless shapes, sizes, colors and textures inhabit the tide pools.
On land, some species, like raccoons, beaver and mink, live mostly in the lowlands. But others, like deer, elk, cougars and bears, range from valleys to mountain meadows. Park waters are home to some of the healthiest runs of Pacific salmon outside of Alaska. Over 300 species of birds live in the area at least part of the year, from tiny penguin-like rhinoceros auklets offshore to golden eagles soaring over the peaks.
Old Growth Refuge
The park is a rare refuge for species dependent on old growth forests, including some species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Olympic provides one of the last remaining large tracts of intact primeval forest in the lower 48 states. These moist forests provide essential habitat for northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and a variety of amphibians.
A Unique Community
The wildlife community of the isolated Olympic Peninsula is also unique. This community is noteworthy not only for its endemic animals (found only here), but also for species missing from the Olympics, yet found elsewhere in western mountains. Pika, ptarmigan, ground squirrels, lynx, red foxes, coyotes, wolverine, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep and historically, mountain goats, did not occur on the Olympic Peninsula. Meanwhile, endemic species like the Olympic marmot, Olympic snow mole and Olympic torrent salamander are found here and nowhere else in the world!
Threatened and Endangered Species at Olympic
Olympic is one of the most diverse wilderness areas in the United States. Its wide variety of ecosystems provide habitat critical to the survival of sensitive species, such as wild salmon, northern spotted owls, and marbled murrelets. Olympic is truly a refuge for life at risk. It protects one of the largest remaining parcels of pristine habitat for some threatened or endangered species. Learn more about threatened and endangered species at Olympic here.
Olympic National Park's 10 major rivers and the Pacific Ocean provide habitat for 37 species of native fish.
Last updated: September 19, 2022