Volunteers killed dozens of mountain goats at Grand Teton. This year they’ll kill more
More than 100 volunteers killed dozen of mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park last fall. They will kill even more this year, park officials said.
Grand Teton National Park officials launched a multi-year program to kill non-native mountain goats that had invaded the area from Idaho. They believe that removing the goats is absolutely necessary to protect the park and the Teton Range's herd of approximately 125 native bighorn sheep.
"Mountain goats can transmit bacterial diseases that are fatal to bighorn sheep," said park rangers. "The Teton Range bighorn sheep population is relatively isolated and therefore likely 'naive' to these diseases."
At the beginning of the program there were around 100 mountain goats in the park. Last year, volunteers killed 43 of them.
Park rangers believe there are still around 50 goats roaming the park. From September 22nd to October 25th this year, volunteers will try to kill them.
The volunteers will be the same people who have already received the necessary training to kill the mountain goats in 2020, park officials said. They do not accept applications for new volunteers.
Participants still need to go through a background check and pass a weapons proficiency test. They must also be at least 18 years old.
"In the interests of safety and efficiency, the park only draws qualified volunteers who were trained last year and participated in the program," park officials said in a press release. "There are significantly fewer mountain goats in the park and the distance will be extremely difficult."
After the mountain goats are killed, the meat is donated to a handful of places, including food banks and Indian tribes. Volunteers are not allowed to keep the goats.
Grand Teton National Park isn't the only one using skilled volunteers to kill invasive animals. The Grand Canyon was also looking for volunteers to kill hundreds of bison over a five-year period.
More than 45,000 people petitioned for the bison to be killed. People were then drawn in a lottery. Volunteers who met the qualification criteria were then selected for one of four five-day periods of removing bison.
"This move is required because of the rapid growth of the bison population and the transition from the herd that uses state and US forestry land to almost exclusive residences in the Grand Canyon," National Park Service officials said on their website.
Grand Canyon wanted a dozen volunteers to kill the bison in the park. Over 45,000 applications
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