Survey shows jump in mountain goats in Olympic Mountains

Survey shows jump in mountain goats in Olympic Mountains

A new report finds that the population of non-native mountain goats in the Olympic Mountains has more than doubled over the past 12 years.

The U.S. Geological Survey says there are an estimated 620 goats and the population has increased by an average rate of 8 percent each year from 2004 to 2016.

Biologists with USGS, the National Park Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife used low-flying helicopters to count goats in Olympic National Park and surrounding forest areas over the summer. The data will help inform the park’s mountain goat management plan, which is currently being developed.

Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics decades ago, before the park was established, and have long posed a problem for park officials.

In 2010, a goat fatally gored a park visitor. Helicopters were used in the 1980s to capture and remove goats because they were damaging the park’s fragile alpine vegetation and soil.