Apparently there's a wee bit more to the story.
Robert Boardman, an experienced outdoorsman, was killed by a mountain goat while hiking with his wife and a friend in Washington's Olympic National Park. The goat, which was renowned for its aggressive behavior, started following the hikers along the trail. When Boardman attempted to scare the goat away, giving his company an opportunity to escape, it gored him in the leg. He was taken by helicopter to the nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Tragic, to be sure. But in the wake of the incident, news surfaced that the aggressive goat had been targeted for 'hazing'--park rangers had repeatedly thrown rocks at it and shot it with bean bags.
Now, the rangers weren't simply being a-holes without cause--they were evidently attempting to instill into the goats a fear of humans with the painful harassment. The hazing was intended to intimidate the goat, to make it less aggressive. The approach, however, appears to have backfired.
Wow. Back in my younger days, I used to climb in the Rockies and came across a few random animals. I never had an issue with any of them, something I suppose could lead to problems in terms of campsites/food spawn points being raided and what-not. Scariest it ever got for me was an uninterested stare from a cougar (after a few seconds, it just turned away and kept on moving while I nearly wet myself). I never thought that rangers would eventually go to the extreme of shooting the goats with bean bags.
Goats can be territorially aggressive; the horns aren't just for show. There are signs all over the park warning about aggressive rams, though this was the first known attack. The park can't do much about native aggressive animals, and they certainly can't kill them outright. Like bears, they just have to be managed. Apparently they thought aggressive goats could be intimidated a bit better than bears (and so maybe not).
The solution is so easy I can't believe its' not mainstream.
Plate-Armor Mountain Climbing.
You first! Then we'll see if your beliefs change at all ;-)
Wait, so throwing rocks and beanbags at a goat didn't work?
Well I'm out of ideas. What was the problem again?
Call in the men who stare at the little buggers.
Short update today from the NPS Morning Reports:
--- AlanThe park is continuing foot patrols on and near Klahhane Ridge following Saturday's incident in which a 63-year-old hiker died after sustaining injuries from a mountain goat. Rangers and wildlife biologists will be walking the Switchback Trail and Klahhane Ridge area daily through the fall, closely observing other goats for any signs of aggression towards people. Throughout the summer, rangers patrolled the Klahhane Ridge area four to five times each week. During these patrols, they monitored goat behavior and talked with hikers about their observations of goat behavior. Klahhane Ridge is about 17 miles south of Port Angeles and is a popular hiking destination. It is also home to approximately eight mountain goats, some of which are quite accustomed to seeing people. “We want to be sure that no other goat is behaving aggressively towards people,” said Superintendent Karen Gustin. “Saturday’s tragic event was extremely unusual and we are doing everything we can to learn as much as possible about it and to make sure we’re doing everything we can to prevent something like this from happening again.” The goat that fatally gored Boardman was killed shortly after the incident, following positive identification by the rangers on scene. A necropsy of the goat was conducted Sunday evening by a veterinary pathologist and tissue samples were collected for full analysis. A preliminary report is expected within about a week. The incident remains under investigation.
They're gonna find that the goat had been sexually assaulted and that the man had pix of naked goats in his fanny pack.
Poor old goat!
Probably final NPS note about this:
--- AlanThe preliminary investigation of the October 16th fatal mountain goat goring near Klahhane Ridge has concluded and the findings were consistent with initial accounts of the incident. Witnesses and others in the area at the time describe an aggressive male mountain goat that approached, followed and fatally gored Robert Boardman while he was hiking. Following the fatal encounter, the goat stood over Boardman until several visitors, including an off-duty National Park Service employee, succeeded in scaring off the goat. First aid and CPR were administered at the scene and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter transported Boardman to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, where he was pronounced dead. Following the incident, the goat was positively identified by park rangers and destroyed. A necropsy and comprehensive tissue analysis were conducted on the goat and preliminary results have been released. A wide range of tests, including the initial visual examination during necropsy, followed by microscopic study of the major organs and a battery of diagnostic tests, have not revealed any signs of disease or other physical abnormalities. The goat is estimated to have weighed over 350 pounds. Tests for rabies virus, encephalitis virus, plague and tularemia revealed no evidence of those diseases. Salt concentrations in the animal’s urine were within normal limits. Tissue analysis showed that the goat was in breeding condition or “rut.” Additional diagnostic tests for several diseases are still ongoing, including listeria and chronic wasting disease, as are several chemical assessments for key nutrients. Rangers and wildlife biologists conducted daily goat behavior monitoring patrols during the week of October 18th, but these have not continued since snowfall began on October 24th – nearly two feet of snow is now on the ground at Hurricane Ridge. Up to eight goats were seen in a day but there were no observations of aggressive mountain goat behavior. Some goats appeared to be habituated to human presence, but quickly moved away when people yelled or waved their arms. Patrols will resume this fall if weather and snow conditions permit. Once winter weather begins, mountain goats typically move to their winter range, which varies from herd to herd. Winter range for goats in the Hurricane/Klahhane area is primarily along a rocky, windswept ridge north and east of Klahhane Ridge. Park biologists, in collaboration with biologists from neighboring land and wildlife management agencies, have solicited and have been receiving information about mountain goat–human interactions from across the animals’ range. Park staff will incorporate all new information learned through this incident into the park’s nuisance and hazardous animal plan. [Submitted by Barb Maynes, Public Affairs Officer]