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Mountain Goats: Wizards of the High Country

If you’ve ever seen mountain goats clinging to a sheer slope at a precipitous height, you may have wondered in awe how they manage to hold on. These surefooted, shaggy white beasts are found in alpine environments throughout the Rocky Mountains, robust high-altitude dwellers that are more agile and hardy than bighorn sheep. Drew McCarthy gives us an overview of the mountain goat, examining the challenges wildlife managers face when goats enter areas where they are not native residents. The Wyoming population is a case in point, as mountain goats have naturally dispersed into Grand Teton National Park. Currently, the park service is removing them from within park bounds because they are required, by statute, to protect the park's native species—including bighorn sheep that are threatened by direct competition from the goats. The eradication process has been highly controversial, because of the methods used (helicopters with rifles) and a lack of public involvement in planning. In this talk, you’ll not only learn about a brilliantly adapted animal, but the problems that confront officials when charged with managing it on public lands.


Originally presented November 20, 2020
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