Survey shows growth in Olympic Mountain goat population

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A survey shows a 40 percent jump since 2004 in the number of mountain goats in Washington’s Olympic Mountains.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service estimate there are about 344 mountain goats. Observers in helicopters searched high peaks over several days last July.

Biologist Kurt Jenkins said the 2011 census released last week shows the first increase in the population since the 1980s. He said the population had been remarkably steady since then.

Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s and numbered nearly 1,200 in 1983. Park officials removed several hundred from the park in the late 1980s over concerns of their potential impact to the environment.

Olympic National Park officials are seeking money to analyze how to manage goats in the park. In 2010 a Port Angeles was gored to death by a goat.

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