Why Mountain Goats Are Flying to the Cascades

For the second year in a row, officials are flying mountain goats in Olympic National Park to the Cascade Mountains. The uncommon sight of blindfolded goats flying through the sky on the helicopter is explained in the National Park Service video above.

The effort by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife is intended to move the goats from remote areas of the park, where humans introduced them in the 1920s and where they have a negative effect on the ecosystem. They are transported to the Cascade Mountains, their native habitat and where their numbers have been dwindling.

To get them there, specialists safely sedate the animals, blindfold them, cover their horns and send them on their way via helicopter.

A team of veterinarians also examine the goats and give them tracking collars before setting them free in the mountains.

Last year, 115 of the known 725 mountain goats were moved from the park to the Cascades.

The two-week relocation period is organized by state and federal agencies, along with American Indian tribes. They work with Leading Edge Aviation to safely move the goats.

"Mountain goat relocation will allow these animals to reoccupy historical range areas in the Cascades," said Jesse Plumage, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist, in a news release.