Why not mountain goats really goats

National park: Mountain goats addicted to urine are relocated

Flying mountain goats

Our urine is full of salts and minerals - and at least mountain goats in Olympic National Park in the Northwest of the USA appreciate that very much. The animals also need salts for their metabolism, but these are difficult to access in this habitat. And that is why the adaptable mammals have found an abundant substitute source: The protected area is a popular destination for hikers, who ease themselves at campsites and along the paths in the wild and thus attract the mountain goats, which ultimately lick up the remains. The animals sometimes become very intrusive because they not only want to absorb urine, but also want to lick sweaty clothing and backpacks. In doing so, they sometimes pose a threat to visitors, as documented by a death in 2010: At that time, a herd of goats trampled a hiker to death. In order to prevent damage to humans, animals and nature, the National Park Service is relocating mountain goats by helicopter to a nearby wilderness area, where fewer people are on the move. Overall, the population in the Olympic National Park is to be reduced by 90 percent, thereby restoring the ecological balance.

This article is included in Spectrum - The Week, 40/2018