The National Park Service will begin lethally removing non-native mountain goats from Grand Teton National Park. Earlier this week, the service announced that it has signed a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Mountain Goat Management Plan/Environmental Assessment at Grand Teton.
You can download and view the PDF file here.
Signing this document allows the park to “rapidly remove non-native mountain goats” through both lethal and non-lethal methods like live capture and translocation, according to a press release. It modifies the previous alternative that utilized “qualified volunteers” and ensured the meat was donated. Officials say that they plan to integrate volunteers into the management plan via a different program that is based upon the requirements outlined in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act.
Right now, there are about 100 mountain goats living in Grand Teton, most likely descended from a herd outside the park. Because of the current number of animals, park officials believe that they can remove the non-native herd completely. If allowed to grow in size, “complete removal in the near future may become unattainable after a period of about three years,” according to a press release.
The revised plan will help conserve park resources from the “rapidly growing non-native mountain goat population” and sustain key habitat for the 100 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep that live there. It is essential to keep the Teton Range bighorn sheep herd healthy as it is one of the smallest, most isolated herds in Wyoming and, according to a press release, “is of high conservation value to the park, adjacent land and wildlife managers, and visitors.”
Lethal and non-lethal removal will start this winter.