PORT ANGELES, Wash. (CBS/AP) – Mountain Goats living at Olympic National Park In Washington are being relocated because their attraction to human urine has become a nuisance, say park officials.
Wildlife officials say the goats have become a problem along heavily used trails and around wilderness campsites because they seek out salt and minerals from human urine, backpacks and sweat on clothing.
Back in September, hundreds of goats were blindfolded and airlifted from Olympic National Park to the North Cascades. Professional crews used tranquilizer darts and net guns to capture the animals from rocky ridges and slopes within the national park, located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Seattle.
Wildlife officials say the move is necessary because the goats have long posed a threat to native vegetation and to people visiting the park.
Introduced to the area nearly a century ago, before the park was established, goats eat and trample sensitive vegetation, disturb soil when they wallow and can be menacing to backpackers and other visitors on trails, officials said. In 2010, an aggressive goat fatally charged at a hiker on a popular trail who followed him and his companions, renewing concerns about safety.
“These goats are not native here, they were introduced in the 20’s before we were a park,” said Olympic National Park Biologist Patti Happe. “They have learned to not be afraid of people because were a national park.”
About 350 mountain goats are expected to make the move.
Wildlife officials hope the transported goats will help boost a reduced population in their native habitat of the cascades.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)