The largest mountain goat relocation project in American history is set to begin this September in Olympic National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) has decided to completely eradicate the species from the landscape over the next three years.
Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympic Mountains in the late 1920’s and the park service arrived in 1938. In what the park is calling an attempt to preserve native alpine plants, all of Olympic Nation Park’s (ONP) mountain goats will either be live-captured or lethally-removed over the next several years.
This fall’s initial capture will be a trial run to the massive endeavors to come in 2019 and 2020. The park estimates their goat population around 650 animals. The goal is to live-capture as many animals as possible and to gift them to the state of Washington.
The live-captured animals will be used to augment and revitalize native goat habitat in Washington’s north Cascades. A live capture of this many mountain goats has never been attempted. Several agencies and organizations are working together to execute this unprecedented project.
RMGA conservation dollars have been allocated to the purchasing of several collars to be used by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to track and study the relocated animals. The restoration of Washington’s native goat habitat is a conservation success the RMGA is proud to be part of.
After the live-capture phase is deemed complete, the remaining mountain goats will be lethally removed. The current proposal is for the first wave of lethal removal to be executed by vetted backcountry volunteers. Hired government marksmen will carry out the final phase of mountain goat removal. Stay tuned for more ONP mountain goat removal project updates.