WENATCHEE – More than 70 mountain goats were moved from the Olympic Peninsula to the North Cascades during July.
Friday, July 19, marked the final day of a two-week-long capture and translocation operation that 76 mountain goats from Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest to the northern Cascades.
Since September 2018, 174 mountain goats have been translocated. An additional two-week period is planned for mid-August. Capture and translocation may continue into 2020 depending on this year’s results, say agencies involved.
The effort is a partnership among the National Park Service, state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service to re-establish mountain goats in the Cascades while removing non-native goats from the Olympics.
Though some mountain goat populations in the North Cascades have recovered since the 1990s, the species is still absent or rare in many areas of its historic range, officials said. Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s.
Leading Edge Aviation, a private company that specializes in the capture of wild animals, conducted aerial capture operations through a contract. The helicopter crew used immobilizing darts and net guns to capture mountain goats and transport them in specially made slings to the staging areas located at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and the Hamma Hamma area in Olympic National Forest.
The animals were examined and treated by veterinarians before volunteers transported them to pre-selected staging areas in the North Cascades. The mountain goats were transported in refrigerated trucks to keep them cool.