Wildlife biologists are counting mountain goats in Olympic National Park and nearby forest areas.
The Peninsula Daily News says biologists with the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife in low-flying helicopters are surveying mountain goats through July 21.
Park officials say data collected will help inform the park’s mountain goat management plan, which is being developed.
Mountain goats, which are not native to Olympic National Park, have long posed a problem for park officials.
In 2010, a mountain goat fatally gored a park visitor. Helicopters were used in the 1980s to capture and remove goats because they were damaging the park’s fragile alpine vegetation and soil.
The last census in 2011 found 344 goats in the park and adjacent areas, a 5 percent increase from the previous survey in 2004.
This year’s survey includes the Mount Ellinor area in Mason County.