Pierre, S.D. (KELO AM) - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, working in cooperation with the Utah Division of Wildlife, recently relocated 22 mountain goats from Utah to South Dakotaâ€™s Black Hills.
The goats were captured from a herd in Utah's Tushar Mountains, and are part of a study to increase genetic diversity in South Dakota's mountain goat population.
"Utah biologists used helicopters and net guns to capture the animals," said GFP Regional Game Manager John Kanta. "Mountain goats live in high altitudes and inhabit very rough and steep terrain. Capturing these mountain goats was very challenging."
Once an animal was captured, blood was drawn, vaccinations were given, measurements were taken and a throat and nose swab was performed to test for diseases. All yearling and adult mountain goats were fitted with a radio collar and mountain goat kids were ear tagged.
Goats were then loaded into wooden boxes filled with wood shavings and a block of ice to keep them comfortable and cool in preparation for their journey back to South Dakota.
"The mountain goats were released into the Needles area of the Black Hills," Kanta said. "We will be monitoring these goats for survival and transplant success and will also be using the data to enhance our aerial sightability survey for developing population estimates."
This project is one of many made possible through partnerships between GFP and non-government organizations.
"The Midwest Wild Sheep Foundation and the Greater Dacotah Chapter of the Safari Club International provided financial support for radio collars and capture costs associated with this transplant," Kanta said. "The cooperation from these partners will greatly assist GFP in managing South Dakotaâ€™s mountain goat population and their habitats."