Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Gar W. Workman
Barrie K. Gilbert
Phillip J. Urness
Jessop B. Low
Donald V. Sisson
Desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) response to human disturbance was evaluated in southeastern Utah from 1981-1983. Bighorn response was compared between the Red Canyon area, an area with relatively high levels of human disturbance, and the White Canyon area, an area with relatively low levels of human disturbance. Bighorn were deliberately harassed by vehicles and hikers and immediate response and distance fled were recorded. When bighorn remained in the presence of the harassing stimuli, actual time spent in and proportion of animals engaged in various behaviors were recorded to determine group wariness and activity budgets under harassed conditions. Bighorn were also observed under unharassed conditions to compare behavior between harassed and unharassed conditions.
Red Canyon bighorn responded more severely to harassment trials than White Canyon bighorn. Response by Red Canyon bighorn was generally running flight whereas White Canyon bighorn responded most often with non-flight behaviors. Group wariness was greater for Red Canyon bighorn than White Canyon bighorn when bighorn were exposed to continuous harassment. Activity budgets of unharassed bighorn were similar between areas, however, activity budgets of harassed animals differed significantly between areas particularly with respect to attention and feeding behaviors. Red Canyon bighorn were at attention longer and fed less than White Canyon bighorn under harassed conditions.
Energy-nutrient relationships, hunting ramifications, and management implications as they relate to harassment of desert bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah are Discussed.
King, Michael M., "Behavioral Response of Desert Bighorn Sheep to Human Harassment: A Comparison of Disturbed and Undisturbed Populations" (1985). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 8014.
Copyright for this work is retained by the student. If you have any questions regarding the inclusion of this work in the Digital Commons, please email us at .