Hundreds of mountain goats are being given an airlift on their way out of a national park in the US state of Washington after developing a taste for human urine.
Rangers used tranquiliser darts and net guns to capture the animals from rocky ridges and slopes within the Olympic National Park, located about 160 kilometres west of Seattle.
The animals were blindfolded, put into specially made slings and airlifted to a staging area in the park. They were examined, collared with a tracking device, given fluids and then began a journey by truck and ferry to another area in the North Cascades.
The problem, according to the National Park Service (NPS), was that the goats were attracted to areas humans were frequenting due to the waste they had left behind.
“Mountain goats can be a nuisance along trails and around wilderness campsites where they persistently seek salt and minerals from human urine, packs, and sweat on clothing,” the NPS said.
“They often paw and dig areas on the ground where hikers have urinated or disposed of cooking wastewater.
“Mountain goats threaten visitor safety and damage the unique vegetation of the Olympic Mountains.”
A plan approved by park officials in June calls for about 375 goats to be moved to habitat in the North Cascades, where the animals are native. Park officials estimate between 275 and 325 goats that cannot be caught will eventually be shot and killed.