Washingtonians had a hard time choosing a state animal. Candidates mentioned over the years include the Roosevelt elk, mountain beaver, and a giant clam called the geoduck.
In 2009, the Olympic marmot was named the official endemic mammal. That means it’s found nowhere else but Washington. In fact, it’s only found on the Olympic Peninsula.
In contrast, Washington’s official marine mammal, the orca, is the most widely distributed mammal in the world. Also known as killer whales, orcas range from the Arctic to Antarctica. In Washington, orcas feed largely on salmon and steelhead, the state’s official fish.
Orcas are among the most popular residents of Puget Sound, a branch of the sea that frames Seattle. Imagine being able to look out your window and see an orca! But look before it’s too late; Puget Sound’s orcas are vanishing.
Some people might argue that the premier symbol of the Pacific Northwest is Sasquatch, aka “Bigfoot.”
Sasquatch is a legendary creature that looks like an ape or human. Many species of apes and humans evolved in the Old World. However, there is no solid evidence of any species but our own migrating into the New World. Is Sasquatch an exception, or is it just a myth?
The case for Sasquatch grows weaker as America’s wilderness areas continue to shrink. Then again, Sasquatch could be hiding among the growing army of homeless people that call Seattle home.