This is quite a title: Aggressive Goats Addicted to Human Urine Airlifted Out of Olympic National Park, WA.
Hundreds of mountain goats in Olympic National Park, WA have become so addicted to the salt found in human urine and sweat that they are an aggressive menace to national park visitors, charging at hikers and trampling vegetation. They have a taste for salt and minerals in human urine, and sweat on clothes and backpacks, according to officials.
Park officials urged walkers not to urinate along trails, to avoid turning paths into “long, linear salt licks” and attracting goats.
Now I don’t know which are more disgusting, humans or goats.
You realize that backcountry trails don’t have washrooms, right? People need to go somewhere. I do a lot of hiking in these areas and have never seen anyone literally pissing on the side of the trail; everyone has the decency to step off behind some trees or rocks or something. (Now, some people do insist on hiking with their dogs, and those do piss on the side of the trail.) However, high-traffic areas, particularly around common destinations and lunch spots, will pick up a lot of urine.
The goats in a lot of areas in the Cascades and Olympics are apparently very salt-deprived. In areas with high densities of multi-coloured mountain apes, they’ve learned to see those apes as walking salt dispensers. When one ape leaves the trail and walks off into the woods, the goats know what the ape is doing and follow. Hikers are asked to, whenever possible, pee on bare rock to prevent the goats from digging up the vegetation. Even so, the goats still crowd in to get it while it’s fresh. Men need to be careful to not pee on the goats (I was unsuccessful on one occasion). Women probably need to be careful to not get pushed over by the goats.
Akira MacKenzie says
Ummmmmmm… I got nothing.
John Morales says
Man bites dog, dog bites man.
Heading to Olympic NP in two weeks. So, that’s a timely & good warning…….except I don’t hike too much and when I do, I ALWAYS hold it for the restroom / pee station.
So I worked in the Olympic NP last season at a nice lodge on Lake Crescent and at least the ones removed last fall were up on Hurricane Ridge which is a pretty popular tourist destination you can drive right up to. (It didn’t help that some dumbass got themselves killed by a goat not too long ago) so at least there it definitely isn’t a backcountry situation. Plus from what I heard the goats are actually somewhat of a transplanted species there, brought in by settlers from, and they’re getting moved I think it was to Oregon where native herds are.
Also if you’re heading to ONP this summer at least around the Forks and Port Angeles area be aware that there will be road work going on along the south shore of Lake crescent on 101, generally 30 minute delays to wait for a pilot car, but there’s a website up to let you know if they’re going longer, there are a certain number of days you’re looking at something like closed between 9am-1pm. But dear god everything up there is beautiful, I wish I had a dash cam as my commute was just amazing. (why yes I worked the front desk of a hotel that was right smack dab in the middle of that construction zone all last season)
I’m confused. If salt deprivation is a real thing, why isn’t salt brought in? I just did some Googling and apparently there are dozens of videos out there on how to make a salt lick.
We build and fix trails in the back woods. We have people carry food and even soda and potato chips into some of these back woods areas to sell to the hiking tourists.
Why can’t they carry in some salt?
Akira MacKenzie says
I don’t really have much experience with goats, I do have some recent experience with salt deprivation and dehydration. I was helping dismantle a deck when I was hit with a massive, painful series of Charlie Horses in my arms. After a couple of shots of dill pickle brine and a big bottle of lemon lime Gatorade, did my arms start to work properly again.
Not at all perverted, NaCl is vital, and in short supply in some regions. Salt licks aren’t free.
Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, healthy humans can hold urine for 6-8h, males longer than females because of the abdominal volume occupied by the uterus.
Figure it out, guys (literally).
That’s odd, I was informed it was the SHEEP who were licking salt
Interesting. I remember a “behind the scenes” bit of a nature doc (Probably one of Attenborough’s) where they’d posted up in a place (a riverbank?) known for it’s butterflies. Zilch. Nada. Bupkis. Then, a guide or someone pointed out that the butterflies came there for the salt and had everybody take a whiz. Voila! Success! Butterflies! (Though I do think the cameraman had to lie in wee soaked ground to get the shot)
For Attenborough, I’d lay in pee to get the shot.
It’s not that perverted. Check out hippopotamus and giraffe mating rituals.
The mildly deranged penguin claims the intent was to teach the goats to play ukuleles, but apparently in the local goat dialect, ukulele, yeti, yo-yo, urine, and flying-submarine all sound the same (bleat), as does bite, play, prehensile-tail, and flying-submarine (bleat). Goat does not have the same expressiveness as Orangutan. Hence, the instructions bleat bleat were interpreted in several ways, including making a papier-mâché walrus. And biting yeti substitutes for their urine, which was a lot of fun, as the yeti substitutes tended to scream albeit none flew away in a submarine.
The handful which did take up the ukulele usually ate it at the end of each practice session or concert. Unfortunately, They™ still keep making ukuleles.
markmckee: Olympic National Park is over 1400 square miles. That would require a lot of salt licks. The park is the largest road-free area in the lower 48, so no roads for resupply. It isn’t just urine. The local deer like to lick salt from dead bugs on car bumpers.
raanab: That “idiot” was a local nurse. That mountain goat was an outlier who never had the usual skittishness around humans. Everyone knew him from when he was a kid. He grew bolder as he grew older. Most critters are more than glad to share the trail, even coyotes and bears. Just don’t try to pet them or have them join you in a selfie. This goat was different, and everyone knew he was dangerous, but the park had no protocol for dealing with him until after he killed someone. If there was an “idiot” it was the hunter who came up with the brilliant idea of introducing mountain goats to the Olympic Peninsula. Like scotch broom and English ivy, they are an introduced species.
Kaleberg: Ah, I heard it from a friend who had picked up on something in the story about the person killed staying behind and guess read that as that person doing so to mess with the goat. Now I know better, thanks.