Plant and animal species of the Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast co-exist in the Ozarks. Armadillos, roadrunners, and tarantulas live with lichens characteristic of arctic tundra. Differences in elevation (from 375 to 2,385 feet), moisture, exposure, and soil types, allow more than 1,500 plant species to live here. The river boasts 64 species of clear-water fish. Whitetail deer, raccoon, opossum, bobcat, mink, bear, and beaver are common. The ranger stations and the visitor center have checklists for mammals, plants, flowers, birds, and fish that may be found in the park.
We advise you to remember that the wild animals in the park are just that - wild. Don't feed or attempt to interact with any animals you might see. Remember, this is their home; we are just visiting.
Elk in Arkansas ?
Eastern elk, a subspecies adapted to environmental conditions in the eastern hardwood forests, were native to the Buffalo River . This subspecies had vanished from the Ozarks by the 1840s, and are now extinct everywhere. Between 1981 and 1985, a total of 112 Rocky Mountain elk were released at five sites in Newton County by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Over 400 elk presently live in or adjacent to Buffalo National River in Newton and Searcy Counties . Surveys indicate that the introduced elk are reproducing. However, elk deaths due to poaching, injuries and disease will likely cause any increase in population to be slow.
Resource managers monitor the elk herds to understand how these elk have adapted to Ozark habitats.