Grand Teton Mountain Goat Cull Underway

Grand Teton Mountain Goat Cull Underway

Program Designed to Protect Teton Bighorn Sheep

The National Park Service is using qualified volunteers to help cull non-native mountain goats as part of Grand Teton National Park’s management plan designed to protect a native and vulnerable population of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Teton Range.

The use of qualified volunteers is a tool identified in the National Park Service’s 2019 Mountain Goat Management Plan based on requests from Wyoming Game and Fish Department and in line with guidance in the 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.

The Park Service reports that the Teton Range is home to a small herd of native bighorn sheep currently estimated at 100 animals.  As one of the smaller and most isolated herds in Wyoming, it is of high conservation value to the park, adjacent land and wildlife managers, and visitors.

Mountain goats are not native to Grand Teton National Park.  Mountain goats were introduced into the Snake River Range in Idaho and the population has expanded to the Teton Range. Mountain goats can carry bacterial diseases that are lethal to bighorn sheep. The Teton Range bighorn sheep population has been relatively isolated and are therefore likely ‘naïve’ to these diseases.

The qualified volunteer program is set to take place September 14- November 13, 2020, weather permitting.

The Casper Star Tribune reported earlier this week that three goats were killed in the first week of the two-month culling effort and that Chief Ranger Michael Nash said it was a good start and the program was going smoothly.

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