Warning: Aggressive goats ahead

There are some days when it’s awfully hard to trawl through the news. And then I find a gem.

The U.S. Forest Service announced on Friday that the Scotchman Peak Trail will be temporarily closed due to recent encounters between hikers and aggressive mountain goats.

Source: Goat encounters dim out trail use

Goats were there first. They have established that they have the right of way. No, that’s not quite right. The goats, like many wild animals, have become problematic because they are acclimated to humans who feed them. Being attacked by a goat can be fatal. This is no joke.

“Feeding wild animals is dangerous and selfish behavior. It not only puts the individual providing the food in danger, it also puts everyone else in danger. Feeding creates an expectation of salt or food from anyone that hikes to the top of the peak,” Mary Terra-Berns, a former Fish & Game biologist…

don't feed

  7 comments for “Warning: Aggressive goats ahead

  1. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    September 15, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    Fainting goats need not apply.

  2. Bonnie
    September 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    The Disney Effect – wild animals are cute & harmless. They also understand English. 🙁

  3. Ronald H. Pine
    September 15, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    The “No Symbol” indicating that some kind of horned animal should not be fed, and which was posted above, shows the silhouette of a mountain sheep, not the American “Mountain Goat.” If you Google pictures of both, you can see the differences. American “Mountain Goats” differ from sheep in having beards, a different profile, and shorter, more slender, spikier horns with less curve to them, than can be attained in adult sheep, among other things. “Mountain Goat” is actually a somewhat misleading name because the American animal is not really a goat. True goats are in the genus Capra, American “Mountain Goats” in the genus Oreamnos. American”Mountain Goats” belong to a group of animals sometimes called “goat-antelopes” (which itself is a misleading term). The term “Mountain Goat” for the American animal is not as misleading as some other English names for animals, such as “prairie dog,” which is used for certain kinds of ground squirrels, but it is an unfortunate term, nonetheless. Because “prairie dogs” are not dogs, it’s preferable to not simply abbreviate their name to “dogs.” Similarly, it can be misleading to drop the word “Mountain” when one is referring to American “Mountain Goats.” Another reason why the name “Mountain Goat” is misleading for the American animal is that true wild goats, no species of which is native to the New World, are, in general, mountain animals, so to call them “mountain goats” would, in that case, be a correct categorization, although one containing an unnecessary qualifier. Are we confused yet?

  4. CLamb
    September 15, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    The goats have learned that being aggressive towards humans yields rewards of food. Hikers have the options of :

    A. Feed the aggressive goats to keep themselves safe but encourage aggressive behavior.
    B. Do not feed the aggressive goats risking thereby risking their own safety but discouraging aggressive behavior.

    Seems like the classic paradox of altruism.

  5. Chris
    September 16, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    All you need to remember is that they are big, and aggressive. Some are not happy that they were introduced to the Olympic Mountains (where they are causing problems, read the yellow box in link):
    http://www.npca.org/news/magazine/all-issues/2014/spring/getting-her-goat.html

  6. Christine Rose
    September 20, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    If you feed the goats will they stop bothering you? That’s hardly my experience with cats and dogs and soft hearted folks who give them table scraps.

  7. Russian Skeptic
    September 21, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    There is a couple of aggressive domestic goats in a shopping mall across the road. They can be really nasty, being fed up with carrots and wanting entertainment.

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