Man from Port Angeles Killed By Mountain Goat in Olympic National Park

Olympic National ParkLast Saturday, Robert H. Boardman was hiking with his wife, Susan Chadd and a family friend, Pat Willits when they encountered an aggressive mountain goat on the trail.  It was about 1:00 and they had just finished eating lunch up on Klahhane Ridge.

Boardman told his party to move on down the trail, while putting himself between the goat and them.  His wife stated that no one saw the attack, but they did hear Mr. Boardman yelling.

There were other friends of Mr. Boardman hiking on the trail.  They arrived at Mr. Willits location, finding him on a cell phone and upset.  He notified them that Boardman had been attacked by a mountain goat.  He also stated that the goat was standing over him and would not leave.

One of the people, Bill Baccus, a park scientist, called a dispatcher.  Bill and two other people used rocks and a silver space blanket to intimidate the goat and get him to move away.  After 15 minutes of trying, the goat finally moved away.

Upon reaching Boardman, they found his leg bloody and no pulse.  A former park ranger started CPR until a doctor, hiking along the trail, took over.

Boardman was airlifted out by a U. S. Coast Guard helicopter.  He was taken to Olympic Medical Center and pronounced dead.

Currently, about 300 mountain goats live in the park.  About eight or so have been closely monitored by park rangers due to their aggressive behavior toward hikers.  The park rangers have been shooting beanbags and nonlethal firecrackers at the goats to try and change their behavior.

The goats are not native to Olympic National Park.  In the 1920s the goats were introduced to the area for the benefit of hunters.  Since then, the goat’s population increased to over 1,000 by the 1980s.  With that large of a population, the goats were causing damage to the park’s fragile land.  Eventually, 400 goats were transported by helicopter other mountainous areas around the park and the Northwest.

Currently, park rangers are monitoring the area and searching for other aggressive goats.  They are also interviewing hikers along the trail for any information about aggressive goat behavior.

Veterinarians have speculated that the cause of the goat’s aggressive behavior may due to the lack of certain minerals in their diet.  Other professionals attribute it to the time of year.  Male goats are going through rut, or mating season.  This overabundance of testosterone could enhance aggressive behavior.

The goat that killed Boardman was found and shot.  It was taken to a pathologist and a necropsy was performed.  The results are to be released in a couple of weeks.

When hiking, know that you are in the wild.  Never approach or feed a wild animal.  The NPS states to stay at least 100 feet away from mountain goats.   If an animal is blocking your path, walk around it.

Excerpts of this article taken from: King5.com, The Seattle Times and Peninsula Daily News.

Picture from National Park Service

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