Mountain goat study halted by animal deaths

Print Article

A mountain goat study in Glacier National Park has been suspended following the deaths of two goats after they were shot with tranquilizer darts.

The University of Montana study, aimed at exploring the effects of climate change on mountain goats, got under way this month with preliminary field work in the Many Glacier Valley.

A 6-year-old male mountain goat died Tuesday after it was darted in the Ptarmigan Lake Trail area near Mount Altyn by Dr. Robert Moore, a Wildlife Conservation Society veterinarian.

Moore administered a tranquilizer antidote and provided support breathing for about 45 minutes, according to Dr. Joel Berger, a professor of wildlife conservation at the UM Division of Biological Sciences.

The cause of death later was determined to be respiratory arrest because the tranquilizer dart punctured the goat’s ribcage.

After meeting with park managers on Wednesday, researchers were allowed to resume their field work.

However, a second male goat died after it was darted on Thursday. Its cause of death has not yet been determined.

The researchers were instructed to “stand down” until further notice while the National Park Service conducts a review.

“We are devastated at the loss of these animals,” Berger stated.

The field study was being led by doctoral candidate Stefan Ekemas under Berger’s supervision. Researchers planned to dart 30 mountain goats over the next two summers with a goal of fitting them with radio collars and subcutaneous temperature monitors.

Captures were to be conducted by a veterinarian with care taken to minimize the risk of harm to the animals in the vicinity of cliffs, open water and rough terrain.

Scientists already have learned that changing climate is likely to squeeze habitat available to wildlife such as mountain goats due to changing vegetation in high-elevation terrain.

The main question posed by the study is: Will Glacier National Park become a refuge for mountain goats?

According to Berger, “Climate has been and continues to be a clear driver in shaping and modifying the boundaries of species distribution. Unlike organisms, the boundaries of national parks are fixed. Knowledge of the nature of change across both time and space offers key glimpses into a species’ biology, its potential ecological dynamics, and, perhaps, into conservation strategies.”

According to a park press release, future courses of action for the study will be determined by the National Park Service review.

Reporter Jim Mann may be reached at 758-4407 or by e-mail at jmann@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

World War II navigator to be honored during special ceremony

May 27, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake A Eureka-area veteran who flew 28 bombing missions as a navigator during World War II will be honored during a special Memorial Day flag-raising ceremony at the C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery in Kal...

Comments

Read More

‘Hamburglar’ posse strikes Evergreen drive-thru

May 26, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Daily Inter Lake A group of belligerent people reportedly stole a woman’s food in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant in Evergreen, according to a Flathead Sheriff’s report. The people were allegedly calling the...

Comments

Read More

Bigfork hosts motorcycle memorial ride, poker run

May 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Daily Inter Lake Today, Bigfork is expecting more than 100 people on motorcycles to roll through town as a tribute to friends lost in a car crash and as a reason to fundraise for local veterans. It’s the 8th annual...

Comments

Read More

Flathead Forest opens all campgrounds

May 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Daily Inter Lake All Flathead National Forest campgrounds are scheduled to be open by the Memorial Day weekend. Holland Lake, Swan Lake, Emery Bay, Murray Bay, Devil Creek, Lid Creek, Lost Johnny Camp and Lost Joh...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X