Wind Cave National Park Animals

Vast open prairies can look deceptively empty. But take a closer look.

A small dark shape on the horizon may actually be a bison grazing knee-deep in bluestem and other grasses. You may glimpse a well camouflaged coyote hunting among the prairie dog "towns". Slowly comes the realization that the nutrient-rich plants of the plains support an abundance of wildlife.

When first established, Wind Cave National Park's main purpose was to protect the cave and assist visitors in enjoying it. But by 1912, the protection and reestablishment of native wildlife within the park's boundaries was recognized as an equally important goal. Among the park's foremost missions as a wildlife sanctuary was the restoration of populations of bison, elk, and pronghorn to the Black Hills. By the late 1880s, these animals had been eliminated from this part of their range, largely because of uncontrolled hunting.

The story of the bison's return reflects the success of the park's management programs. Starting with 14 bison donated by the Bronx Zoo in 1913, the herd numbers about 350 today.

Other wildlife, including mule deer, cottontail rabbits, and many kinds of birds, live in the prairies, forests, and hills of Wind Cave. Located near the middle of the country, the park embraces animal and plant species common to both the East and West. Don't be surprised to see ponderosa pines and pinyon jays-both Western natives-alongside American elms and eastern bluebirds.

Seeing as how he's beating you down the black diamonds at the resort now, it's time you set him up with a jacket that...
Price subject to change | Available through
Featured Park
Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.
Featured Wildlife
The pika is a close relative of the rabbits and hares, with two upper incisors on each side of the jaw, one behind the other. Being rock-gray in color, pikas are seldom seen until their shrill, metallic call reveals their presence.