Glacier National Park’s most iconic species, the Mountain Goat, is the subject of ongoing research. The National Park Service has recently approved a plan for a park-wide study, beginning in 2018, to better understand how the goats and their habitat will respond to current climate change by studying their ecological drivers, such as snowpack and vegetation. The results of this study will help park managers take action to protect the species.
However, there are critical research and outreach opportunities that will not be funded through the NPS project. Additional funding is necessary to hire three seasonal staff who will actively assist in data collection, animal captures, habitat monitoring, creation of informational handouts and media, and conduct distance learning lessons to more than 800 students around the world each year.
Additionally, this project will support the refurbishing of GPS collars already on hand, as well as the acquisition of eight additional GPS collars and their associated operation and maintenance charges. GPS collars will improve the accuracy of the information collected and allow for around-the-clock collection of location points for each goat fitted with one of these collars.
Funds also will provide additional capture and handling supplies, telemetry flights, enhanced laboratory analysis of biological samples, as well as additional safety gear for field crews and travel funds for disseminating the results of this project at professional conferences. This project will allow park managers to better achieve the goals of the study and respond with actions designed to protect mountain goats and their habitat in a changing climate.