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Idaho officials observe 57 mountain goats in Selkirk range

March 30, 2020 GMT

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Idaho biologists counted 57 mountain goats in the Selkirk Mountain Range this year, the first survey of the animals in the range since 2001.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife made an aerial observation of the goats that head to steep and bare, rocky areas in the winter, The Spokesman-Review reports.

The mountain range runs along the Idaho and Washington state border, extending north into British Columbia.

The biologists counted 57 goats during the air survey in February, compared to 34 in 2001.

Mountain goat populations grow slowly and are sensitive to hunting, causing Idaho to implement a conservative management plan in 2019, fish and wildlife department biologist Laura Wolf said.

The updated guidelines allow a hunting season only when there are at least 100 individual goats with 15 kids per 100 adults.

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During the February flight, biologists estimated there were 13 kids per 100 adults.

Spotting 57 goats indicates the population has held steady and has not been overly disturbed by an expanding human population in the region, Wolf said.

Historical accounts and estimates put the total number of goats at more than 200, but a warming climate stresses the animals and may lead to reduced populations, Wolf said.