The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the largest wilderness areas on the entire East coast. Containing over 65 different mammal species, 67 native fish, 80 different reptiles and 200 bird species.
The emblem of the Great Smoky Mountains, and probably the most popular park inhabitant, is the American Black Bear. In fact, the Smokies provide the largest protected bear conservatory in the East. With an estimated 1,500 total bears living in the park, it is estimated that there are two bears located in every square mile of the park
Out of the 65 other mammals, the most common species include the groundhog, white-tailed deer, chipmunk, bat and squirrel. Of the 200 different bird species, an estimated 120 of them reside in the park all year round. Some of these birds that call the Smokies home are actually on the Federal endangered species list.
Because of the park’s different elevation areas, the Smokies are a great location for certain species that are commonly found in the Northeast like the flying squirrel, Canada Warbler, red squirrel and the raven. In addition, the lower elevations areas are a great location for common Southern birds, mammals and fish.
With more than 700 miles of stream land, the park is the home to a variety of different fish species including the brown trout, rockbass and rainbow trout. At lower elevated areas with warm, slow moving streams, visitors are able to view endangered fish species like the Yellowfin Madtom, Smoky Madtom, Duskytail Darter and the Spotfin Chub.
Before the Smokies were established as a National Park in 1934, there were many more animals calling the park grounds home. Unfortunately species like the bison, red wolf, mountain lion, gray wolf, river otter, elk and Peregrine Falcon were eradicated from the park because of hunting.