Denver Zoo Research Ungulates on Mt Evans
The Denver Zoo is committed to being a part of the solution for wildlife and environmental conservation, and to giving back to Denver communities. As a means to achieve these goals, Denver Zoo’s conservation conducts research on the bighorn sheep and mountain goat population on Mount Evans.
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America and attracts tourists from around the world. As a result, wildlife-human interactions occur at a very high rate. While we want everyone to enjoy and experience the majestic wildlife Colorado has to offer, we want to ensure that it is done safely. Ungulates (bighorn sheep and mountain goats) are susceptible to many diseases carried by humans, and can also become ill when exposed to human waste and food. And as wild animals, they can often act aggressively towards humans if they feel threatened, causing human injury or death.
As a way to ensure safe wildlife-human interactions, Denver Zoo is investigating passive ways of keeping bighorn sheep and mountain goats out of the parking areas. We are even currently experimenting with the use of mountain lion urine as a deterrent. Mountain lions are a natural predator to mountain goats and bighorn sheep. We hope that the scent of the urine will trigger a survival response in the ungulates, thus keeping them out of the area. Every week we deposit mountain lion urine around the perimeter of the parking area and then monitor ungulate behavior using observation and game cameras. We hope the data collected will be useful when developing wildlife management plans.
If you see us on Mount Evans please feel free to stop by, say hello, and ask any questions you may have! We invite you to participate in the wildlife conservation by staying at least 30 feet away from wildlife, practicing “Leave No Trace,” and avoid feeding any animals you may see. We look forward to seeing you this summer!
Jess Harrington, Alpine Field Technician
Denver Zoo’s Mission: Inspiring communities to save wildlife for future generations. Protect – Honor – Innovate – Engage – Empower – Serve
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If you would like information on directions to Idaho Springs, Evergreen, Dumont, Lawson, Downieville, Empire, Georgetown, or Silver Plume from Denver please visit our Getting Here page. If you would like more information on fun things to do in the great outdoors please visit the Activities page! We look forward to seeing you in Clear Creek County!
Clear Creek County is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Located just west of Denver along Interstate 70, Clear Creek has 396 square miles of public lands to explore, as well as four mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. Clear Creek is comprised of charming mountains towns Idaho Springs, Downieville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown, and Silver Plume, which are all along the I-70 corridor. Learn more about Clear Creek County here.