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Grand Teton National Park Pausing Aerial Gunning Of Non-Native Goat Management

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park has paused its efforts to eliminate the nonnative mountain goat herd in the area. This comes after state and federal agencies told the park to call it off. Gov. Mark Gordon, the Wyoming Game and Fish director and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior asked the national park to halt its plans to kill the nonnative population through aerial gunning.

Gov. Gordon and Brian Nesvik, the Wyoming Game and Fish director, reached out to Grand Teton National Park on Friday trying to stop the killing of the mountain goats.

“Game and Fish continues to hear from the public loud disapproval of the Park’s selected method of removal,” wrote Nesvik in a press release on Friday.

Gov. Gordon sent a letter to the park’s Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail with similar sentiments. The Governor shared the same letter with the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. According to the governor’s press release, Secretary Bernhardt called Noojibail and ordered him to “stand down” late Friday.

“I appreciate the excellent working relationship we have with Secretary Bernhardt and that he is willing to discuss this issue in more detail without the pressure of ongoing aerial hunting,” wrote Governor Gordon in the press release. “I look forward to a more fruitful conversation about better ways to address this issue in a more cooperative manner.”

Denise Germaine, the park’s public affairs officer, said park officials made the decision to call off the gunning on Saturday.

“We did have operations on Friday and they were effective towards meeting the objectives of the program,” she said.

Germaine declined to share the number of goats killed during the single day of aerial gunning. She said the park values the perspective of its partners and is currently in discussions on how to proceed. The park is required by the National Park Service to protect the native Teton Range bighorn sheep herd which are threatened by the nonnative goat population in the area.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.

In addition to reporting daily on the happenings in Northwest Wyoming, Kamila is also the producer of the Kids Ask WhY Podcast and the History Unloaded Podcast.Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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