Mountain Goat Capture and Translocation

Map of mountain goat removal locations in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest
Mountain goat removal locations and totals for 2018-2019

NPS/R. Hoffman

Fourth and Final Capture and Translocation Period Now Complete

Overall Project Results for September 2018 to August 2020

Total Mountain Goats Removed


Translocated to Cascades


Transferred to Zoo

Capture Mortalities

Euthanized

Transport Mortalities

Lethally Removed

381

325

16

22

6

4

8

Mountain Goat Management - Removal

In May 2018, the NPS released the Final Mountain Goat Management Plan/EIS which outlines the effort to remove the 725 mountain goats estimated on the Olympic Peninsula at that time. Both the plan and the associated environmental impact statement were finalized after an extensive public review process which began in 2014.

The plan is to reach a zero population level of mountain goats in the park and adjacent Olympic National Forest lands through capture and translocation and then lethal removal. Our top priority was capture and translocation of goats to the Cascade Range where the populations are both native and depleted. Once capture operations become impractical or hazardous due to steep terrain the remaining goats will be removed by lethal means. At the end of the capture operation in August 2020 we reached that point after removing 381 goats from the Olympic Peninsula. The remaining goats cannot be safely or efficiently captured. In addition, 325 goats were released into the Cascades thus achieving our goals there.

Olympic National Park has recruited 21 groups of skilled volunteers to assist with the ground-based lethal removal of the remaining non-native mountain goats from the park this fall.

  • This program will occur from September 9 through October 17, 2020 over 3 removal bouts. Session dates are September 9-19, September 22-October 2, and October 5-16.

  • Volunteers applied in groups of 3-6 people.

Lethal removal will switch to aerial operations in 2021.


Joint NPS-USFS-WDFW News Releases

 
Two mountain goats in slings under a helicopter being set down into the back of a truck.
Captured mountain goats from Olympic National park being delivered to a staging area where they are cared for by veterinarians and then transported in refrigeraterd trucks to the northern Cascade Mountains for release.

NPS Photo - J. Burger

 

Project Background

The National Park Service released its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Mountain Goat Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in late June 2018. The United States Forest Service (USFS) signed its ROD in December 2018, which allows the mountain goat capture and translocation activities to include USFS wilderness.

While mountain goats are not native to the Olympic Peninsula, they are native to the North Cascades Mountains but exist in low numbers in many areas. Both the USFS and the WDFW have long been interested in restoring mountain goats to these depleted areas.

The EIS, ROD, and other reference documents can be found on the NPS Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/OLYMgoat.


2020 Summary

One, 2-week capture and translocation operation occurred in 2020. A total of 50 mountain goats were captured and translocated to the northern Cascade Mountains in this final round. The project met the objectives of the capture and translocation phase of the Mountain Goat Management Plan/EIS. The total number of flight hours for capture (270 hours) was less than the estimated maximum hours, capture success was better than predicted, and WDFW released the number of mountain goats estimated. As predicted in the plan, the mountain goats were harder to catch as the operations progressed. By the final round, capture mortality increased from an average 5.2% after the first round to 9.1% and flight hours per live capture increased from 0.59 hours after the first round to 1.31 hours per goat.

Overall, the plan is to reach a zero population level of mountain goats in the park and adjacent Olympic National Forest lands through capture and translocation and then lethal removal. Our top priority was first capture and translocation. The remaining goats cannot be safely or efficiently captured and will be removed by lethal means.

2019 Summary

Two, 2-week capture operations occured in 2019.

  • July 2019: 76 mountain goats were translocated.
  • August 2019: 101 mountain goats were translocated.

Since September 2018, a total of 275 mountain goats have been translocated from Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest to the northern Cascade Mountains. An additional two-week capture and translocation period is planned for summer 2020.


2018 Operation Summary

The 2-week capture activities ended September 23 and the final translocation by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife took place on September 24. A total of 115 mountain goats were removed from the park. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) only translocated mountain goats from the park to the non-wilderness release sites within the North Cascades national forests during this first round.

 
 
 

Last updated: September 23, 2020

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