U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt suspended an operation designed to remove nonnative mountain goats from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Crews already removed 36 of the planned 100 animals when the order came down.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon strongly objected to removal of mountain goats via aerial gunning. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports the National Park Service (NPS) will now use ground-based trained volunteers under supervision of NPS personnel with the meat distributed to volunteers or food banks.
WGFD and the NPS both agree the animals need to be removed but disagreed on the previous method.
Wildlife managers maintain that nonnative mountain goats carry pathogens that, if transmitted to bighorn sheep could quickly trigger pneumonia and death to a native species already struggling in numbers.
(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)