Colorado Officials Are Concerned About Animals’ Unnatural Behavior on Mount Evans

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
July 10, 2019Animal
Colorado Officials Are Concerned About Animals’ Unnatural Behavior on Mount Evans
Rocky Mountain Goats, Oreamnos americanus. (Pixabay)

People and wildlife are getting increasingly close on Mount Evans, the highest paved road in North America, and wildlife protection authorities are not happy with the behavior the animals are starting to show.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) had raised concerns about the recent “unnatural behavior” of wildlife in the Mount Evans area, lately, and admonished people to avoid coming into close contact with them.

CPW issued a statement on Tuesday morning on Twitter: “This is unnatural behavior of mountain goats, going up to vehicles to lick the salt off the tires of cars. It is one aspect of a growing problem with humans and wildlife on the highest paved road in the United States.”

“We have been taking a collaborative approach with the Forest Service and Denver Mountain Parks to help combat an increase in human-wildlife conflicts we are seeing at Mount Evans,” Wildlife Officer Joe Nicholson said, according to a CPW news release.

On July 3, CPW released a video on Twitter showing a mountain goat hopping onto the hood of a vehicle and staying there for a few moments before hopping off again.

“People have gone as far as attempting to pick up mountain goat kids and we have seen groups of mountain goats surrounding and following people, which is far beyond the natural behavior of these animals,” Nicholson said.

CPW also shared another message on Twitter: “Bighorn sheep or mountain goats coming right up to people on Mount Evans is likely a result of being fed or becoming accustomed to having people close by when they try to take photos with wildlife. This can lead to dangerous encounters.”

CPW has issued some pieces of advice to curb the problem and reduce the number of encounters between humans and wildlife animals.

They requested United States Forest Service and Denver Mountain Parks to build fences and recommended not sprinkling salt near bathrooms, parking lots, or pathways on Mount Evans.

“Salt is a strong attractant for mountain goats and bighorn sheep, so we are recommending using alternative substances that will address visitor safety when ice is present, but not attract wildlife to these high visitor use areas,” Nicholson said.

CPW also embraced tactics to spur the animals’ natural fear for humans by hazing them off from sites where there are a lot of people, using sound and direct contact from things such as tasers, cattle prods, and paintball guns.

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