Effort succeeding to reduce Tetons’ nonnative mountain goats

Mountain goats were introduced to the Tetons, where they compete with native bighorn sheep and can spread disease. Credit: Richard Deakins

Efforts to reduce the population of nonnative mountain goats in the Tetons has reduced their numbers to 29 — all in Grand Teton National Park. Wyoming Game and Fish biologists conducted a two-day aerial survey that also revealed 90 native bighorn sheep.

“I was happy we counted 90 sheep,” Game and Fish Jackson Region wildlife biologist Aly Courtemanch told the Jackson Hole News and Guide. “That shows that the herd is hanging on, but I still have concerns about that bighorn sheep population.”

Wyoming Game and Fish has spent two years trying to reduce the goat numbers through hunting and culling. Efforts to use helicopter gunning were cut off after a political backlash. Last fall, trained volunteer hunters were enlisted to reduce the numbers. In 2019, a survey counted 88 goats.

The Teton mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) are descended from an introduced population and can compete with native bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) and spread disease.

Read more from the Jackson Hole News and Guide.