This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Painted mountain goats at 13,000 feet? The marked nannies (adult females) and kids (goats born this year) on Mount Evans are part of a disease outbreak study, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials explained in press release on Thursday.

Nearly all of the kids born in 2013 and 2019 suffered from severe diarrhea died of an unknown disease.

“Right now we are collecting some baseline information, so we are marking these goats with paintballs,” wildlife biologist Lance Carpenter said. “The paintballs that we hit them with don’t hurt the goats, but we individually mark each animal that we are tracking and we want to track these animals over time.”

Collecting fecal samples from the marked goats is part of the study initiated by Carpenter and wildlife pathologist Karen Fox in 2020.

“One of the things we have initially seen this year is high loads of E. coli,” Carpenter said. “We don’t know if that is the cause yet, but it is kind of interesting to us that we are seeing these high loads of E. coli.”

Between 80-90 mountain goats were counted in the Mount Evans habitat in 2020.