Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Science

Number of Pages



Many mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Zion Canyon, Zion National Park appear to be in poor condition. In this study diet composition, nutritional value of the diet, prevalences of diseases and parasites, and herd composition were examined for further evidence of poor condition. Analysis of forage plants indicated a nutritionally adequate diet. This conclusion was also supported by serum chemistry results. Serum titer levels did not reveal any current infections, however, high eosinophil levels in 84% of animals tested were likely due to parasitism. Cysticeri of two species of Taenia, adult Elaeophora schneideri, and Sarcocystis hemionilatrantis were isolated in necropsies of two deer. Recruitment rates in Zion Canyon mule deer are indicative of healthy animals, however data presented here suggest the population has a greater proportion of older animals than other herds. Succession of canyon vegetation is presented here as the probable cause of historical changes in herd size.


Canyon; Deer; Diet; Diseases; Mule; National; Park; Utah; Zion

Controlled Subject

Zoology; Ecology; Forests and forestry

File Format


File Size

2560 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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