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Tourists get too close to wild mountain goats
Photos from Mount Evans, Colo. are raising controversy after showing crowds of tourists getting within several feet of wild mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) and their kids. Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a press release that the most common wildlife-human encounters included goats and bighorn sheep (Ovis Canadensis) licking vehicles for salt, putting their heads inside car windows, entering restrooms, running towards people offering food or even just opening food wrappers. One video posted online showed a mountain goat climbing on the hood of an SUV. The state agency reminded visitors in the Mount Evans Scenic Byway not to feed wild animals they encounter and to keep their distance. “The agencies will be up there all summer monitoring activity and actively enforcing or using aversive conditioning techniques with the hope that we can curb small problems from growing into worse or even dangerous encounters,” Wildlife Officer Joe Nicholson said, adding that Denver Mountain Parks and the Forest Service are working together to fight an increase in human-wildlife conflicts including when people pick up goat kids. Wildlife officers are also increasing their efforts in a hazing program that uses paintballs and loud noises to scare animals away from areas of high tourist traffic.