On-line Book
cover to Fauna 1
Fauna Series No. 1








Suggested Policy

Fauna of the National Parks
of the United States


Throughout the new land, the wild-life resources were a vital necessity to the explorer. He penetrated the wilderness for fur. This was the first great crop to be harvested. Wherever he went, he depended upon the game for his very existence. So it was in evitable that the history and tradition of our national life should be replete with references to the animals that occurred so profusely. Emblematically, we live among these birds and animals to-day. Witness the eagle and the buffalo of our coins, the antlered emblems of fraternal orders, the wild creatures depicted on State flags and seals. Daily speech bristles with descriptive words based on concepts of these animals and their habits.

Yet many species continue to exist in the living state only as small remnants hidden away in the wildest corners of the country, remote from the perils of human contact. Others have persisted through their ability to escape greedy human eyes. With the alteration of their habits to meet the rigors of civilization, many of them are no longer to be observed in their primitive state.

To all of this the national parks present one of the outstanding exceptions. In them, the carnivores classed as predatory find their only sure haven. Fur-bearers and game have benefit of partial protection elsewhere, but in the parks alone are they given opportunity to forget that man is the implacable enemy of their kind, so that they lose their fear and submit to close scrutiny.

The national parks owe much of their unique charm to the unusual opportunities they afford for observing animals amid the intimacies of wild settings in which even the observers feel themselves a part. It is one of the causes contributing to their constantly increasing popularity. The thrill of being in the same meadow with an elk, no fence or bar between, reaches everyone, young or old. Without the scurry and scratch of a chipmunk along the bark or the call of a jay and the flash of its blue, the high mountain and the deep gorge would be cold, dead indeed. The visitor would not linger long after his first comprehensive gaze at awesome scenery if the vista did not include the intimate details of those living things, the plants, the animals that live on them, and the animals that live on those animals.

Appreciation of the importance that the wild life commands among the resources of the national parks rests upon comprehension of the important points developed above.

In logical sequence, these points are:

  1. That the wild life of America exists in the consciousness of the people as a vital part of their national heritage.

  2. That in its appointed task of preserving characteristic examples of primitive America, the National Park Service faces an especially important responsibility for the conservation of wild life. This is emphasized by the wholesale destruction which has decimated the fauna in nearly every part of the land outside of the park areas.

  3. That the observation of animals in the wild state contributes so much to the enjoyment derived by visitors that this is becoming a park attraction of steadily increasing rank.

Long-crested jay
FIGURE 2 – Long-crested jay looks out over the Grand Canyon rim. "Without . . . the call
of a jay and the flash of its blue, the high mountain and the deep gorge
would be cold, dead indeed."
Photograph taken October 30, 1930, at El Tovar, Grand Canyon. Wild Life Survey No. 1904



Last Modified: Tues, Feb 1 2000 07:08:48 pm PDT

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