Seasonal Resource Selection by Introduced Mountain Goats in the Southwest Greater Yellowstone Area

Authors

  • Blake Lowrey Ecology Department, Montana State University, Bozeman
  • Robert A. Garrott Ecology Department, Montana State University, Bozeman
  • Sarah Dewey Grand Teton National Park, Moose, WY
  • Gary Fralick Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Thayne
  • Holliei Miyasaki Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Falls

Abstract

Mountain ungulates, although regarded as iconic and charismatic wildlife species, are the least studied and understood large mammals in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) are considered non-native in the GYA according to reviews of archeological, paleontological, and historical records, and have been steadily expanding their range since their initial introduction in the 1940s.  Because of the general propensity of mountain goats to inhabit high elevation, mountainous terrain, there is significant potential for range overlap with native bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) and the possibility that competition and disease transfer will be detrimental to sympatric bighorn populations.  I will broadly discuss mountain goat seasonal resource selection modeled from 15 (11 females and 4 males) allopatric mountain goats representing the sole established population in the southwest GYA.  These efforts produce the first spatial predictions of seasonal habitat use by mountain goats in the GYA using GPS data, and provide regional managers with important insights regarding the current and future distribution of mountain goats.  Of particular interest are areas where mountain goats are in the early stages of colonization, such as Grand Teton National Park.  Building seasonal resource selection models for mountain goats in the GYA is the first step needed to better understand their biological needs, ecological role, and potential to negatively impact native communities and species.

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Published

2016-12-31

Issue

Section

Biological Systems - Terrestrial Ecosystems [Presentation Abstracts]