A little bit of high country drama involving this little one, its herd and humans and dogs.
As usual, the Mountain Goat herd on Mount Evans was hanging out near the parking area this past Saturday morning. There were probably a dozen or more tourists and photographers enjoying watching the animals as they bounded on the mountain.
A young couple with two dogs decided to disregard commonsense and bring their pets close to the herd. To wildlife, dogs are predators, and the herd reacted as you would expect – they quickly fled down the mountain a ways to distance themselves.
In the process, this poor little kid got separated from its mom. It was initially out of my view but I could hear it desperately calling for help. It seemed like an eternity but finally it topped the hill behind me and was able to see the herd. Quickly, it bounded down the rock face of the hill flying right by me to its mom.
It was quite close and the action fast but I managed a few shots as it went by including this one as it leapt off one of the rocks.
While it made for a cool capture, the situation that created it was frustrating. I have dogs and I love dogs. However, they and wildlife simply do not mix – period. By choosing to bring their dogs in close proximity to the Mountain Goats, they stressed the animals, created unnecessary drama and a potentially dangerous situation, and ruined a great wildlife viewing opportunity for tourists and photographers.
I see this time and again in this spot and many others and it is very frustrating. If you have dogs and take them with you to locations with wildlife, keep them well out of sight and earshot of the wildlife.
Mountain Goats are pretty docile and not likely to attack. Moose, elk and other creatures may not be so quick to retreat. Be courteous to others there to enjoy these gifts from Mother Nature.
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