Glacier National Park was the safe haven to 800 Grizzly bears in a 2012 count. That group size doubled within the park confines. On the park’s East side, Grizzlies visit the lower aspen groves and meadows in the Summer.
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American Alligators in the Everglades National Park can grow as large as sixteen feet long. Although they normally don’t bother human beings, it is wise to refrain from trying to fee them, or pet their young, which sport visible yellow bands of color.
Along the Central California coast, once-endangered sea otters live in growing numbers. They thrive on and play among giant kelp in an estuary name Elkhorn Slough.
Millions of Bison ambled the plains of the Old West: 650 of the animals living in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma represented a species recovery project that recorded their numbers in 2012. The refuge opened in 1907, creating a safe environment for America’s largest wildlife native that was nearly hunted to extinction in the 1800s.
The Grand Canyon is one of the homes of the Condor, rescued from impending extinction many years ago. In 2012, 70 of these birds resided in the Canyon. Nation-wide at that time, just 350 Condors total had been recorded as living in the wild.
Texas’s Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is home to the rare Green Jay, a blue, green, and yellow bird of tropical descent. Avian life is plentiful in this refuge, as a count of 413 different species has been recorded and maintained.
The National Guard in Fort Indiantown Gap keeps watch over the Regal Fritillary Butterfly. These insects can be seen at the Guard’s training facilities in Pennsylvania in their largest single population in the Eastern United States. They shed their cocoons in July and make a bee-line for the plant life on the base that sustains them.
Nature’s wonders are forever preserved in these refuges and in America’s 60 National Parks.
Flower photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg