Bobcats thrive at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico but are rarely seen. Mostly nocturnal, they use stealth and excellent night vision to hunt small mammals in darkness. Bobcats are usually tawny with darker spots and streaks on their body and legs, and light-colored undersides. They have short black tufts on their ears and a ruff of longer fur on their face. The kittens may look like ordinary house cats, but they quickly grow to twice the size of domestic cats. Photo by National Park Service.
What are you doing for National Get Outdoors Day? If you’re a fan of public lands, you could frolic in the sand at a national seashore, take a peaceful hike in a wilderness area, go bird watching in a wildlife refuge or enjoy breathtaking views at our incredible national parks. These deer at Olympic National Park in Washington seem to have the right idea. Photo by Jason Horstman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Started in 2000, World Turtle Day aims to increase the public’s knowledge about turtles and tortoises. At home wherever they roam, turtles are some of the most diverse creatures – over 300 turtle species exist with 57 species in the U.S., and they’re found on every continent except Antarctica. And they play a vital role in the ecosystem, helping spread seeds on the land and supporting other marine life in the sea. On public lands across the country, we are working to protect turtle habitat and monitor turtle nests and hatchings.
These three bear cubs play in the sand at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska while their mom digs for clams nearby. On the southern end of the park’s Cook Inlet coast, Chinitna Bay offers world-class bear viewing, where as many as 20 coastal brown bears search for food. An incredible experience, bear viewing should be done carefully and responsibly. Stay in groups, keep a safe distance and never try to feed these wild animals. Photo by K. Ilgunas, National Park Service.
Mothers feed, protect and share life lessons like this mama fox. Fox pups spend most of the summer in or near the den with their mothers providing them with food and teaching them how to hunt. When the pups are about seven months old, they’re ready to strike out on their own. While this looks like a tender moment, it’s a teaching moment with the mama fox is scolding one of her young for biting her tail.
You have to have sharp eyes to spot an eastern screech owl in the wild.
Masters of disguise, screech owls nest in tree cavities, camouflaging themselves in their surroundings. This one was spotted at Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. So next time you visit public lands, be sure to look for hidden wildlife – you never know whoooo might be watching you. Photos by Graham McGeorge (www.sharetheexperience.org).
These cute baby bighorn sheep put the baaahhh in Badlands National Park. Among the rugged and colorful South Dakota landscape, bighorn sheep thrive as they scamper over steep rock formations and bound through the grasslands. April through June is the best time to see lambs playing in the park. Photo by Larry McAfee, National Park Service.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings. Bears inhabit all elevations of the park – with an estimated 1,500 bears living in the park. Bear cubs are usually born in the winter and emerge from their dens in late March or early April. Bears can run 30 miles per hour, can swim very well and are good tree climbers like this baby bear pictured here. Bears can live 12-15 years or more, but animals that have access to human foods and garbage have a life expectancy of only half. Do your part by using the park’s bear-proof dumpsters and disposing of all garbage properly. Photo by Sidney Cromer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s the best time of year! The first baby bison of spring was recently spotted at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Calves are orange-red in color, earning them the nickname “red dogs.” They can walk within 3 hours of birth, and before long, nursery groups of calves will romp around together, never far from their mothers’ watchful eyes. Check out more bison facts: http://on.doi.gov/1Oc7VXg Photo by National Park Service.