Vets say mountain goats more aggressive this time of year

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on October 18, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 21 at 1:15 PM

Veterinarians are waiting for results of a necropsy performed on the mountain goat that fatally attacked a hiker in Olympic National Park this weekend.

They hope to know in a few days if there was some sort of medical or physical reason for such a rare act of aggression.

One theory being discussed is that it was perhaps a lack of the natural trace minerals mountain goats and all other animals with hooves need and crave.

Mountain goats are known to travel miles to find mineral licks that often have a salty taste to them.

Mountain goats are not native to the Olympic Mountains, which is low in such minerals, but some veterinarians say it is unlikely the goats would get that aggressive due to some kind of nutritional imbalance.

Dr. Allison Case at Northwest Trek in Eatonville said it is more likely an over-abundance of testosterone was involved. This is the time of year male mountain goats are in mating mode, or rut.

The goats at Northwest Trek are always treated with great respect because of their amazing strength and speed, but Case said during rut the males are especially dangerous and can get very aggressive.

It is not known why the mountain goat attacked the hiker over the weekend and it may never be, but experts say attacks like this are so rare it would be difficult for any hiker to anticipate.
 

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