New Mountain Goat Herd In Idaho
The Big Mallard Creek area has a new herd of mountain goats transplanted by Fish and Game with the help of the Inland Empire Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI).

Safari Club members recently assisted Fish and Game capture, and radio-collar 11 mountain goats near Riggins. The club also donated five aluminum crates used to ship mountain goats throughout the state.

"It's very satisfying to work alongside others who are so dedicated to helping wildlife," Roly Weinhandl, President of the Inland Empire Chapter of Safari Club said. "It makes you feel good to be involved in something so worthwhile." The goats were moved from the Seven Devils area near Riggins, an area noted for its prolific mountain goat herd, and released in the Big Mallard Creek drainage near Dixie, a relatively unoccupied yet high-quality habitat for mountain goats.

After being darted with tranquilizers from a helicopter, the goats were blindfolded, hobbled, and quickly slung to a lower elevation site where Julie Mulholland, wildlife health technician for Fish and Game, measured the goats' temperature and pulse rate. A small group of SCI volunteers assisted Mulholland by documenting the information, cooled the animals with ice and labeled the collected blood, saliva and fecal samples. The samples will later be analyzed for various bacterial and viral diseases. The goats received ear tags and were fitted with radio collars so their movements can be monitored and the success of the transplant effort can be evaluated. The goats were inoculated to deter infections and parasites, and were inspected for injuries. Lastly, a reversal agent for the tranquilizer was administered, and the captives were gently placed into transport crates provided by SCI. Within a few hours of being darted near Riggins, the goats were quickly processed, cooled with ice and on their way to Dixie. Forest Service personnel and Larry Willmott, IDFG conservation officer, released the goats the same day. "Projects like this are very important in securing the future of trophy species like mountain goats," George Pauley, wildlife biologist leading the transplant operation, said. Idaho's mountain goat population has declined from a high of 3,000 in 1995 to a current low of 2,400. Fluctuations are normal, but recovery can be enhanced with transplants into suitable but unoccupied habitat. The transplant is intended to supplement the existing small herd transplanted to the Big Mallard drainage in the early 1990s.

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