By Billy Arnold
Jackson Hole News and Guide Via Wyoming News Exchange 

In the Rockies, goats beat bighorn sheep


November 23, 2022

Photo courtesy of Forest P. Hayes

This photo shows a mountain goat that later dropped his head and actively displaced bighorn sheep at a high-elevation snow patch in Glacier National Park in Montana. Joel Berger, a wildlife researcher from Colorado State University, found that mountain goats displace bighorn sheep 95% of the time when there are salt licks involved. In the Tetons, wildlife managers have worked to rid the landscape of non-native goats to prevent competition with sheep.

JACKSON -It doesn't take much to get a mountain goat's goat.

They go from "passive to aggressive really fast," said Joel Berger, the Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair of Wildlife Conservation at Colorado State University.

One of Berger's recent studies found that in high alpine environments in the Rocky Mountains where mountain goats and bighorn sheep compete for resources, goats displace sheep - as much as 95% of the time when salt licks were the issue. Their aggressive behavior is part of the reason, Berger said.

"It's like somebody with a short fuse," he said. "They just hit the aggre...

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