Olympic National Park rangers had to kill amountain goat from Upper Royal Basin, near the park’s eastern boundary, on Tuesday afternoon. The action was taken to prevent the animal from inflicting personal injury to humans.
The mature adult male mountain goat had been watched by backcountry
rangers since the morning of Sept. 3. It was showing signs of habituation and exhibiting aggressive behavior at a designated backcountry camping area.
Here is the rest of the news release:
Campers were evacuated from the area the same day, as rangers trained in monitoring aggressive animal behavior marked the animal with paintballs and began to use aversive conditioning, or “hazing” techniques in an attempt to encourage the threatening goat to move away.
Aversive conditioning is one of the first management actions taken when an animal exhibits aggressive or threatening behavior, in compliance with the park’s Mountain Goat Action Plan, published in June 2011 as one part of an overarching Hazardous Animal Management Plan.
In addition to descriptions of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” goat-human interactions, the Mountain Goat Action Plan contains a management continuum of goat behavior. The continuum prescribes approved actions by rangers, wildlife biologists and park officials to increasing levels of aggressive goat behavior.
“After closely monitoring the goat’s behavior over several days, we
determined lethal removal to be the appropriate action in this situation,”
said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin. “We also considered live capture and relocation within the park, but this animal had been unresponsive to persistent hazing, and clearly showed signs of habituation. Lethal removal of an animal is a last resort, but necessary in this case to protect the safety of park visitors.”
Click here to access the Mountain Goat Action plan on Olympic National Park’s website.