Aggressive goats force trail closure

July 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM
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SEATTLE, July 5 (UPI) -- Officials at the Olympic National Forest in Washington state have closed a popular trail on Mount Ellinor because of aggressive mountain goats along the path.

Both the upper and lower portions of Mount Ellinor Trail No. 812 will be closed for at least two weeks, KING-TV, Seattle, reported.

"Mountain goats are powerful, inquisitive, wild animals, but they are not generally aggressive by nature," Wildlife Biologist Kurt Aluzas said. "We believe their recent behavior is because this year's deep snowpack has confined the goats to trailside areas in combination with a seasonally high demand for minerals [salts] and their habituation to people. There is also the potential that the Nanny goats are being protective of their young."

People caught violating the emergency order calling for the closure could be given a fine of as much as $5,000 and sentenced to as much as six months in jail.

"But public safety must remain our utmost concern and the public's cooperation will be appreciated for the duration of this closure," Acting Forest Supervisor Amanda McAdams said.

Officials said the situation will be re-evaluated in two weeks to determine whether the closure should continue.

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