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Going, Going, Gone... The Missing Animals of the Columbia River Gorge

Category: General Article

Back to the Columbia River

Extinction is a fact of life on Earth. More animal species have gone extinct in the young lifespan of our little blue planet than currently exist today. Sometimes those extinctions occur because an animal cannot compete with other species. Sometimes it happens due to changes in climate or the spread of disease. Sometimes humans cause it by over-hunting, destroying wild habitats or introducing toxins into the air or water. And sometimes, although rarely, it can happen in the blink of an eye due to a great cataclysm such as an asteroid impacting the Earth.

The Columbia River Gorge has seen plenty of species come and go over the millennia. Here is a short list of species you won’t see when you visit there today.

Related Information: Time Traveling Through The Columbia River Gorge

Species Spotting In The Columbia River Gorge Today

Despite some species having vanished from the area, the Columbia River Gorge is an excellent place to spot wildlife and learn about native plants. Download our outdoor observation worksheet and Get Out! A Guide to Doing Fieldwork to the right and then see how many of these common animals and plants you can find during your visit.

Animals: Great Horned Owl | Red-Tailed Hawk | American Beaver | Coyote | Canada Geese | Roosevelt Elk | Western Gray Squirrel | Raccoon | Osprey

Plants: Common Camas | Western Redcedar | Bigleaf Maple | Evergreen Huckleberry | Red Alder | Vine Maple | Oregon Ash

Photo credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Download the Get Out! A Guide To Doing Fieldwork

Doing fieldwork can be one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of science. This student guide will give you the opportunity to connect with your local environment or community, gain different perspectives, meet new people, and practice various science skills.

Download An Outdoor Observation Worksheet

Whether for school or just for fun, this easy-to-use worksheet will help you record and catalogue the species you find outdoors.