Greater Yellowstone's Mountain Ungulates

Greater Yellowstone's Mountain Ungulates Cover

Greater Yellowstone's Mountain Ungulates: A contrast in management histories and challenges

Editors P.J. White, Robert A. Garrott, and Douglas E. McWhirter. Featuring the photography of Mark Gocke

Editors: Dr. P. J. White is Chief of Wildlife and Aquatic Resources at Yellowstone National Park. Dr. Robert A. Garrott is a professor and Director of the Fish and Wildlife Ecology and Management Program in the Ecology Department of Montana State University, Bozeman. Doug McWhirter is the Wildlife Management Coordinator for the Jackson Region of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Description: The book summarizes information on bighorn sheep and mountain goats in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Chapters 1 and 2 provide information on the behaviors, traits, and management history of bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Chapters 3 and 4 provide information on their habitat use and seasonal movements. Chapters 5 to 7 provide information on genetics, health and diseases, and population trends. Chapters 8 and 9 provide information on the potential impacts of mountain goat expansion and current management practices for bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

The book is written for the lay person, not a scientific audience. No statistical analyses or values are included, and the use of acronyms and technical terms are minimized. The original sources of information are cited at the end of each paragraph, not after each sentence as in scientific journals, to improve readability. In addition, the book includes figures depicting key concepts and maps, as well as beautiful color photographs supporting the information provided. No royalties will be returned to the book’s authors.

Background: During the 1990s, descendants of mountain goats brought into the area during the 1940s and 1950s moved into northern portions of Yellowstone National Park through the Absaroka and Gallatin mountain ranges in Montana. Mountain goat numbers increased during the following decades and goats moved southward into a primary range for bighorn sheep along the eastern boundary of the park in the Absaroka and Beartooth ranges of Wyoming. These movements by mountain goats raised concerns about harmful effects to bighorn sheep, such as the transmission of pneumonia, and alpine plant communities.

To address these concerns, the National Park Service and Canon USA, Inc. provided funding to Montana State University to begin the Greater Yellowstone Area Mountain Ungulate Project. Many other agencies and organizations joined this effort with funding, resources, scholarships, and staff, including the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Idaho Fish and Game Department, U.S. Forest Service, International Order of Rocky Mountain Goats, Montana Wild Sheep Foundation, Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, and Yellowstone Forever.

Biologists conducted surveys to determine the numbers and distribution of bighorn sheep and mountain goats across the region. They evaluated the potential for competition between mountain goats and bighorn sheep for food and other resources. Biologists also documented the use of habitats and movements by bighorn sheep and mountain goats and monitored the survival of adults and young to understand population trends. In addition, they investigated the occurrence and effects of respiratory diseases. The book summarizes information learned during these and other studies.

The book is available for download below and for purchase through book sellers.

Download the book as a PDF.

Last updated: September 30, 2021

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