Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New Mexico
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New Mexico Project

Effects of recreational disturbance on desert bighorn sheep in western Colorado

August 2020 - June 2025


Participating Agencies

  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • T & E, Inc.,
  • Wild Sheep Foundation
  • Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society
Desert Bighorn Sheep in the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, Colorado.

Responses by large herbivores to human disturbance can result in a change in their habitat use, movements, and increased vigilance and decreased foraging time. Increased movements and reduced foraging time result in higher energetic costs and lower energetic gains, potentially decreasing fitness. The goal of this project is to determine potential impacts of increasing recreational activities on desert bighorn sheep in the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, Colorado and develop management recommendations as appropriate to mitigate negative effects of recreation on desert bighorn sheep herds.