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Goats get lift out of park into other Washington forests

SEATTLE — A yearslong effort to rid Olympic National Park of its mountain goats began this week as officials used helicopters to capture and relocate the animals to other forests.

A plan approved in June calls for about 375 goats to be relocated into national forests in the North Cascades, where the animals are native. The park estimates between 275 and 325 goats that can’t be caught will eventually be killed.

Teams used tranquilizer darts to capture the animals in the first round of efforts this week. The goats were put in slings, helicoptered to a staging area, and then taken to new homes in the North Cascades forests.

Park officials say the effort will protect natural resources, reduce visitor safety issues and bolster the native goat population in the North Cascades.