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Wildlife: Grand Canyon National Park

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http://www.scenic.com/ | Grand Canyon National Park is home to a huge diversity of plants and wildlife that live in ecosystems ranging from desert to pine forests. Learn about the fascinating animals that call the Grand Canyon home.

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Wildlife: Grand Canyon National Park

  1. 1. What makes Grand Canyon National Park so remarkable is that it boasts five different ecosystems throughout the park, all supporting a diversity of plants and animals. In fact, if you hiked from the Colorado River to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, along the way you’d see different ecosystems that can be found from Canada to Mexico.
  2. 2. The Grand Canyon is home to: • 1,750 plant species • 373 bird species • 91 mammal species • 57 amphibian and reptile species • 17 fish species • 8,400+ insect species1 At more than a mile deep, differences in elevation, temperature, and precipitation result in very different environments, from the canyon rim to the river. Let’s explore.
  3. 3. The boreal forest is found on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and receives the most rainfall every year. The forest is dominated by tree species like quaking aspen, Douglas fir, and other evergreen trees. Animals that inhabit the boreal forest include: • Elk: several different species can be found in the boreal forest. • Black bear: while seen less frequently, black bears are known to inhabit the boreal forest. • Wild turkey: frequently seen in meadows on the North Rim.
  4. 4. Found on both the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon, the ponderosa pine forests contain trees that can grow to be 125 feet tall and live 500 years. Animals include: • Squirrel: the three different types include the Abert’s squirrel, the Kaibab squirrel, and the golden- mantled ground squirrel. • Mule deer: can weigh up to 200 pounds and feed on bushes/shrubs. • Sapsucker woodpecker: as its name suggests, feasts on tree sap.
  5. 5. Also called a “pygmy” or “dwarf” woodland, the pinyon-juniper woodlands are found below the North and South canyon rims, and feature highly drought-resistant plants and trees. These woodlands are home to: • Bobcat: resembling a lynx, bobcats hunt cottontail rabbits, and other small mammals. • Pinyon jay: beautiful blue jays that can store up to 50 seeds in their throats. • Ring-tailed cat: a member of the raccoon family, ring-tailed cats have long, bushy, striped tails.
  6. 6. Receiving only 7 inches of rain per year, the desert scrub is very dry and features short scrubby bushes and cacti. Temperatures can soar to over 100 degrees F. Animals include: • Bighorn sheep: known for their incredible curved horns (males), bighorn sheep can scale near-vertical cliffs. • Javelina: a member of the peccary family (and resembling pigs), the javelina has a tough snout to feast on cactus. • Scorpion: an iconic symbol of the desert, there are three species of scorpions in the canyon.
  7. 7. Riparian refers to plants and animals that live along the banks of a river. Animals that make their home along the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon include: • Canyon tree frog: a small frog that lives in perennial or intermittent streams in the canyon. • Beaver: these large rodents cut willows, cottonwoods, and shrubs for food. • Coyote: coyotes can be found virtually everywhere in the national park, they are among the most numerous predators.
  8. 8. Grand Canyon National Park attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year. With such stunning beauty and abundant wildlife, it’s no wonder the area is such a popular destination. There’s no limit to the things you can do during your visit to the national park. From a Grand Canyon air tour to river rafting to hiking, there are endless ways to explore this geological wonder.
  9. 9. Scenic Airlines is the largest and most experienced aerial tour operator in the world, specializing in charter Grand Canyon airplane tours and Grand Canyon tours. Scenic has pioneered the aerial sightseeing industry since it began tours in 1967. Our Grand Canyon air tours showcase the most impressive landscapes of the National Parks, allowing visitors from all over the world to experience the rich beauty of the Southwest. Scenic offers over 20 unique tours varying from easy and relaxed to adventure expeditions. Tours range from a one-hour, air-only sightseeing flight, to a three-day, two-night program throughout the Southwest. Visit www.scenic.com for tour information or call (800) 634-6801.
  10. 10. 1. http://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/education/upload/EcoArticle-Dec2011- 12.pdf

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