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Olympic National Park Officials Kill "Aggressive" Mountain Goat



An "aggressive" mountain goat has been killed by park officials at Olympic National Park. The action came almost a year after another goat fatally gored a hiker in the backcountry.

Rangers "lethally removed" the goat from the park's Upper Royal Basin, near Olympic's eastern boundary, Tuesday afternoon "to prevent the animal from inflicting personal injury to humans," a park release said.

The goat's removal came 11 months after Bob Boardman, of Port Angeles, Washington, was gored to death by a mountain goat on a park trail near Klahhane Ridge some 17 miles south of Port Angeles. The 63-year-old was protecting other hikers from a goat, estimated at 300 pounds, when it gored him in the thigh and then reportedly stood over him as he bled to death.

In the latest incident, the adult male mountain goat had been monitored by backcountry rangers since the morning of September 3 after showing signs of "habituation and exhibiting aggressive behavior at a designated backcountry camping area," park officials said.

"Campers evacuated from the area that 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," the park release said.

Under a Mountain Goat Action Plan adopted this past summer, park officials had the option of closing the area to hikers for up to two weeks or killing the goat if it seemed too great a threat.

“After closely monitoring the goat’s behavior over several days, we determined lethal removal to be the appropriate action in this situation,” said Olympic 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.”


I am conflicted by this.  At first I was planning to be scornful, "aggressive mountain goat"?
Then, I noted the story about the man gored to death by just such a goat, and the size of this goat - 300 pounds.  Obviously, then, this is no joke and no idle matter if human safety is involved.

Regardless of how many humans and how dumb they act around wildlife.  I recall the recent post about morons posing for the cameras with grizzly bears . . .

I feel sorry for the goat(s) involved in these incidents, but I mourn the loss of human life.  Preventive steps must be taken.  Of course, past a certain point, this must mean goat elimination because the total banning of humans from their habitat is impractical.
Yet, my untutored impression of wild goats is that they are naturally timid and wary of humans.  What would make one of these animals aggressive enough to kill?

I'm no expert, but I guess the answer lies in the word used above: "habituation."  Which means, to me, there are too many humans in the parks and they are allowed too far-ranging access to the animals in them.

Here's a novel idea, perhaps:  Maybe some/more areas of our natural parks should be for CONTEMPLATION FROM AFAR rather than tramping all over and disturbing wildlife habitats.  Maybe some/more areas of our national parks should be OFF-LIMITS TO HUMANS so that the animals might live undisturbed. 

For gosh sakes, what morons need to pose next to a grizzly bear?  These goat attacks described here and in the other article, did the humans heed the warnings to "stay at least 100 feet away from wildlife, and to keep in mind that wild animals can be unpredictable"? 
Naive thoughts and questions, I know.  I am trying to learn.  I am trying to understand why a magnificent creature like the mountain goat (see the picture in the earlier article) had to die because it showed "aggressive" tendencies in defending its territory and its herd.  Seems like a natural reaction to being approached / encroached upon by a bunch of two-legged predators.

Hey Bruce, maybe try imagining being in the food chain as nature operates.  That Mountain Goat wouldn't be "habituated" if it viewed humans as what we are, predators.  It's not or ever will be, really, Disneyland.  Only in a fantasy.

I was on Hurricane Ridge the afternoon the hiker was killed-a very
unfortunate accident for the family who deemed it necessary to sue NPS
for not taking action against the goat.  Mountain goats are not
indeginous to Olympic NP and were brought there in the early 1900's for
hunting purposes. Talking to a retired ranger the next day, many would
like complete eradication/removal of them. Give the rangers kudoos for
taking appropriate action.

Mountain goats may indeed be native to the Olympics: remember mammals especially
are more mobile than plants, but both given time and climatic changes, do indeed
move.  This old view the NPS has promoted that what was seen in the1850 biota or other
magical date is freeze-framed and we must re-create it at Taxpayer Expense is total
nonesense promoted by Law Enforcement rangers who received a D minus in Biology 101.
There was even a noted NPS pseudo-scientist who argued that we, the NPS must
restore what was here had European Humanity never arrived (like, who knows what
would be here ?)  The reasons this nonsense is perpetuated is because the NPS abhors
any critical review of its policies especially by its own thinking biologists. 
Censorship is the dogma
of autocrats and selected lousy superintendents without any imagination !

killing the goat was a stupid move by the nps....the bottom line is that every time you go into the backcountry something could go wrong ,so its nobodys fault but yours for going into the backcountry.

This comment was edited to remove a gratuitous comment.--Ed.

Yes, let's go ahead and close every single park just so we can keep humans isolated in their cities and keep goats safe up there from us!!

I understand that there are fossilized remnants of Goat relatives in the Olympics.  Europeans weren't indigenous at all until...Get real.  It just wasn't the guy's day?  Should have become the dominant figure in the exchange.  
Sincere condolences to the family.

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