Latest: Park Service to remove problematic mountain goats

The rapidly multiplying population in Olympic National Park threatens visitors.

  • Lowell Brady/Flickr
 

Backstory

After hunters introduced mountain goats to Washington’s Olympic Mountains in the 1920s, the animals reproduced rapidly, damaging rare native plants and alpine areas. Olympic National Park relocated hundreds, but eventually abandoned the effort. A proposal in the 1990s to kill the goats failed, and in 2010, a billy fatally gored a hiker. Officials again debated what to do next (“Can rocks and paintballs help humans and mountain goats coexist?HCN, 11/13/13).

Followup

In June, after four years of study and public comment, the National Park Service announced plans to relocate about half of the approximately 675 mountain goats in the park. Rangers or trained volunteers will shoot the rest. The park will begin moving goats this summer to national forests in the North Cascades. Mountain goats are native to the North Cascades, but populations are low, and the U.S. Forest Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife hope to restore the species there.

 

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