A Strange Encounter Near the Hoh River

By Kyle Smith, forest manager

In March, I was out at The Nature Conservany's Hoh River Reserve with Kirk Hansen of Northwest Natural Resource Group conducting field reviews of the property for the Hoh River Management Plan. As we were driving down a remote forest I looked out into a recently harvested unit and at first glance I thought I saw an elk grazing. A half hour earlier we had we had just come across a herd of 35 elk that were walking down by a stream.

After a double take and the creature lifted its large neck, we realized it wasn’t an elk, it was a llama! Kirk and I began laughing hysterically because neither of us had ever seen such a thing in the forest before. I was able to snap a few pictures without getting spit on and we went on our way.

Later that afternoon, we ran into a farmer on the lower Hoh road and told him about the Llama we saw. He just laughed and said that Llama crossed the river 1½ years ago and has naturalized into the Hoh landscape. There are plenty of shrubs and forage for this strange creature and definitely didn’t look to be starving. Now we just need to be on the look out and make sure we don’t see any llamas with antlers.