Wolves – Canis lupus
Wolves once roamed across the entire Olympic Peninsula. As apex predators, these wolves influenced the landscape by eating prey, such as deer and elk, and controlling the number of other predators, such as coyotes.
Wolves play an important role historically, not just to the physical landscape, but to the cultural history of the area as well. According to the Quileute origin story, the Quileutes were changed by a wandering Transformer from wolves into people. Wolves and people lived for thousands of years on the land of the peninsula, each influencing one another.
Unfortunately, the wolves were also viewed as a predator to livestock, which made them disliked and distrusted by European settlers that farmed the area. Their size, power, and carnivorous nature seemed to pose a threat to the interests of settlers. As a result, people hunted wolves heavily until they were pronounced extinct to the area by 1935. The park was officially established in 1938, and hunting is no longer allowed within the boundaries.
Last updated: September 22, 2020