Yellowstone is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states. In addition to having a diversity of small animals, Yellowstone is notable for its predator–prey complex of large mammals, including eight ungulate species (bighorn sheep, bison, elk, moose, mountain goats, mule deer, pronghorn, and white-tailed deer) and seven large predators (black bears, Canada lynx, coyotes, grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolverines, and wolves).
The National Park Service’s goal is to maintain the ecological processes that sustain these mammals and their habitats while monitoring the changes taking place in their populations. Seasonal or migratory movements take many species across the park boundary where they are subject to different management policies and uses of land by humans.
Understanding the links between climate change and these drivers will be critical to informing the ecology and management of Yellowstone’s wildlife in the years to come.
- 67 different mammals live here, including many small mammals.
- As of 2015, an estimated 717 grizzly bears live in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
- Black bears are common.
- Gray wolves were restored in 1995. As of January 2016, 98 live primarily in the park.
- Wolverine and lynx, which require large expanses of undisturbed habitat, live here.
- Seven native ungulate species—elk, mule deer, bison, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and white-tailed deer—live here.
- Nonnative mountain goats have colonized northern portions of the park.