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.”