imagine Ride of the Valkyries playing in the background
September 14, 2018 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Operations have begun on a multi-agency project to translocate the entire population of mountain goats from the Olympic Mountains to the nearby Cascade Mountains. Due to the ruggedness and remoteness of the terrain the only practical way to do so is by helicopter.

Mountain goats aren't native to the Olympics and cause serious damage to delicate alpine areas and plants. 12 goats were introduced to the mountains by a hunting club in the 1920s and the new habitat suited them. The population grew to over 1,000 in the 1980s when a similar removal operation captured hundreds of goats. That plan was abandoned for a number of reasons and a proposal to eradicate all goats in the park in the '90s faced stiff public opposition, and the population began climbing again to the current estimate of over 700.

Both the goat and hiker populations have increased dramatically in recent years. There are no known natural salt licks in the Olympics, and the salt in hikers' urine attracts goats. Goats desperate for salt and habituated to humans became more aggressive, and in a tragic incident a goat killed a hiker in 2010. Efforts to deter the goats and educate hikers on goat safety increased after the attack but the public support that saved the goats in the '90s evaporated. The land management agencies again proposed removing all of the goats with support from a number of local tribes and this time secured funding for several years of removal efforts. All goats remaining after that will be culled.

The goats are being relocated to areas in the Cascades where populations have been decreasing. The WDFW has posted several videos of releases so far.
posted by edeezy (15 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
goats man. *shakes head* goats man.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:59 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


"aggressively seeking salt" it me at 3am scrounging in the dark kitchen for pretzels
posted by poffin boffin at 7:11 PM on September 14 [9 favorites]


There are no known natural salt licks in the Olympics, and the salt in hikers' urine attracts goats. Goats desperate for salt and habituated to humans became more aggressive
So you’re saying the goats were getting pissed off because they were desperate to get pissed on?
posted by purple_frogs at 7:54 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Going to the Cascades
posted by Going To Maine at 7:59 PM on September 14


I knew John Darnielle had some bad times when he lived in Washington, but never realized it was chasing-hikers-for-pee, getting-helicoptered-out-by-the-DOI bad.
posted by agentofselection at 8:28 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Hmmm I sort of imagined that it would be helicopters with strings of floppy sedate goats hanging around the outside, and we'd look up in Seattle and see them dangling overhead. Or they'd just salt some clouds and have the goats prance across.
posted by batter_my_heart at 9:40 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


Much friendlier than the time they exterminated 250,000 goats on the Galapagos.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:45 PM on September 14


"aggressively seeking salt"
I went camping in a semi remote valley in Jasper Park, Canada that also had a salt shortage. Woke up in the night to natures call, unzipped the tent and snuck out in the darkness to complete an inter basin transfer. Mid stream I heard a loud crashing from the bushes, heading straight towards me. Frantically clicking on my headlamp, left off so as not to disturb neighbouring campers, I saw illuminated the wild eyes of a deer, barrelling down on me. Without so much as a by your leave she shouldered me out of the way. I think she'd learned to associate the sound of tent zippers in the night with sudden bushy salt licks.

I now pause for a bit and sweep my headlamp around first looking for eye shine when leaving my tent in the night.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 9:45 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


This happened in Grand Canyon in the 1980s, except with burros. Flown out on helicopters. And also put on rafts.
posted by compartment at 10:04 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


the population began climbing again

I very much saw what you did there.
posted by scruss at 5:37 AM on September 15 [5 favorites]


That video is even better than I had imagined.
posted by apricot at 8:00 AM on September 15


This happened in Grand Canyon in the 1980s, except with burros. Flown out on helicopters. And also put on rafts.

I read this in Recent Activity, and for a brief moment, I couldn't remember what the context was, so I decided that you were referring to the 28 Trombone Rhapsody.

I would so much love to see a performance of Bohemian Rhapsody played on trombones on burros on rafts.
posted by moonmilk at 8:46 AM on September 15


“We are goat for launch”
posted by Cogito at 10:13 AM on September 15


I knew John Darnielle had some bad times...

Came here to make sure metafilter was doing this thread correctly and was not disappointed.
posted by nikaspark at 2:00 PM on September 15


GOAT IN DA CHOPPAH!
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:05 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


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