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Goats Are Being Removed From A National Park After Becoming Addicted To Human Pee

Youtube / CBS Philly

When you think of a national park, chances are you imagine lots of animals living there. Whether it's the birds in the trees, the fish in the water, or the deer jumping through a field, we all know the the animal population is very prominent.

In Olympic National Park in Washington state's Olympic Pennisula is dealing with a strange challenge regarding their mountain goat population.

We all know that mountain goats are incredible climbers, but apparently their ability to track down scents is even more impressive. The problem is, the goats in this park have become obsessed with human urine, and will stop at nothing to find more.

The goats were first introduced to the park in the 1920s, but they didn't take into account that there was no natural occurring sources of salt in the Olympic Mountains, so they were forced to find alternatives.

As people travel to the park and are required to relieve themselves along the trail, goats have learned that human urine is a good source of minerals and salt.

They've basically become addicted to finding urine, which has led them to go to areas of the park where humans are to dig and search for urine, sweat, or any kind of cooking water campers may dump out.

This frantic searching behavior is unusual, especially because it means they've been spending more time closer to people than ever before.

The behavior has become increasingly dangerous to visitors, and in the National Park Service's Mountain Goat Management Plan experts cited a fatal interaction in 2010 when a goat gored a hiker as one of the reasons why they've decided to take action.

At the time, NPS didn't realize why the goat had attacked, but had noted an increase in aggressive behavior from the animals in recent years. It's now speculated that the animal's brazen attack on the man was influenced by its desire to seek out the salt and minerals humans have been leaving behind.

But it's not just their behavior towards humans that has become a problem, they've also impacted the landscape of the park.

They've been greatly impacting the vegetation so researchers believe that if they allow the population to continue growing as rapidly as it has been, they will start to experience loss of many plants and soils.

To combat this population boom of goats who crave pee, the park has decided to attempt to relocate the goats.

They start by fitting them with GPS collars, tagging them, and blindfolding them, before they airlift them to other nearby forests in pairs.

Apparently there are nine different forests that are receiving these goats, and should have less chance of any human interactions because they are areas where goats are native to the land, making it easier for them to find the nutrients they need without bothering humans.

The NPS hopes to lower the population by a staggering 90% with relocation, removing somewhere between 625 to 675 goats.

Source - CBS Philly / National Park Service Mountain Goat Management Plan / Popular Mechanics

It's crazy to think that a need for salt has driven these goats to aggressive behavior, and while it's sad that they have to be relocated, it's definitely safer for everyone (including the goats) this way.