Mount Rainier is a wonderland for trail hikers because it has a variety of habitats for different animals. The variety of animals includes different types invertebrates, mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. These habitations are suitable for different animals depending on how high they are on the mountain. Below are some of the most common animals in the park:
Elk – They resemble deer but are much bigger. Their bodies are usually brown in color and they have a light patch around the ramp. They normally make piercing bugle-like calls that tear into the silence of the mountain. Elk look very majestic and may seem harmless to a person that has never encountered them. However, elk are very strong and may be very dangerous if they feel threatened.
Mountain goats – They are also called the Rocky Mountain Goats. Mountain goats are large hoofed mammals that can only be found in North America. However, the mountain goats is not a true goat because it belongs to a different genus from domesticated goats. It is a surefooted climber and is often seen resting on rocky cliffs that predators cannot get to. These animals are also very dangerous. There have been cases where people have been gored by these goats. For instance, a Port Angeles man, who had visited Olympic national park in 2010, was gored and killed by a mountain goat. So of all the mount Rainier herbivores, these animals are the most aggressive.
Bears – Bears are very rear in most of the US but a sparse population of these animals can be found in the Cascade Range. Grizzly, bears are some of the most curious and intelligent animals in the animal kingdom. They are also very dangerous and for this reason many have been killed by people who are afraid of them. However, for almost a century, there have never been reports of bear attacks in Mount Rainier. According to the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, a person who encounters a bear should stay calm and slowly move away from the animal. The agency also advices people to defend themselves if a bear seems to be gearing up to make a predatory attack. Normally when a bear wants to attack someone, it swats the ground and pops its jaw. Some bear experts say that sometimes when a bear behaves like this; it is only trying to scare someone not attack them. Hikers are usually told that making a conversation, and attaching bells to their packs is a good way to scare off bears and other dangerous animals that may be nearby. This way, the animals get a chance to move to another place away from where the noise is coming from.
Wolves – They are among the most misunderstood endangered species in the country. According to animal conservationists, there are only about 2000 wolves in the US-not counting those in Alaska. Thus, these animals are protected by the Endangered Species Act so that their numbers can increase in the wild. Wolves serve as natural population regulators for animals like deer, elk and others. Though they are hard to distinguish from some dog breeds, they never bark. They are also afraid of human beings and tend to avoid contact with them.
Other Mount Rainier animals include cougars, coyotes, red foxes, Douglas’ squirrels and a large assortment of fish and arachnids. Most of these animals are also protected under the Endangered Species act.
By Michael Obunga