The National Elk Refuge provides, preserves, restores, and
manages winter habitat for the nationally significant Jackson Elk Herd as well
as habitat for endangered species, birds, fish, and other big game animals. A few of the refuge's more charismatic species are highlighted below.
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Elk are the primary wildlife species occupying the National Elk Refuge, and their conservation is the reason the refuge was established. The refuge provides winter habitat for the Jackson Elk Herd.
Bison also populate the National Elk Refuge, primarily in the winter. Though often out of view of the public, their presence has a dramatic effect on refuge management.
Trumpeter swans are majestic birds, with snowy white feathers, a jet-black bill, feet, and legs, and an 8-foot wingspan. These incredible birds can be seen year-round at the National Elk Refuge.
Bald eagles frequent the National Elk Refuge, particularly in the winter. Eagles are good hunters but will also scavenge on carcasses. Visitors on sleigh rides can frequently see eagles perched on refuge posts or in a lone cottonwood tree near Flat Creek.
With the return of the gray wolf to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, northwest Wyoming once again has a full complement of native predators. Wolves can occasionally be spotted on the National Elk Refuge, especially when large numbers of wintering elk populate the landscape.
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Elk aren't the only species of wildlife you may see on the National Elk Refuge.