Mountain goats in Olympic National Park: Their days may be numbered

But the claims of harm to vegetation were backed by sloppy science, Noss said. Physical impacts like rain, snow and ice are more likely culprits in damage to rare native plants, he said.

New science corroborates the goats’ origin story. David Wallin, a professor of environmental sciences at Western Washington University, said genetic testing of Olympic goats corresponds closely to goat genetics in Canada and Alaska, but not to those in the Cascades.

Most species struggle because humans colonize or destroy their habitat, said Wallin, the WWU professor. But there’s opportunity for the Cascades goats.

“Ninety-five percent of the alpine zone in the Cascades is protected in some way or another,” Wallin said.

The plant science is still unresolved.

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 8:46am