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National Park Warns: Don't Pee Near Trails...Because of the Killer Goats

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Urine attracts mountain goats, like the one that gored man to death last year.

Hikers in Olympic National Park in Washington state are being urged not to urinate along backcountry trails in order to avoid attracting mountain goats who lick the urine deposits for salt.

The warnings are part of a plan that comes in the wake of a man's death last October after a mountain goat gored him in the thigh.

Louise Johnson, the park’s chief of natural resources management, told the Peninsula Daily News that urging visitors not to relieve themselves is "a new concept."

“We’re trying to get a better understanding of the behavior of mountain goats and their attraction to salt,” Johnson said.

Park officials also plan to engage in "aversive conditioning" of goats spotted in the area, including setting off sirens and compressed air horns, and shooting rubber projectiles and bean bags.

Aversive conditioning will be used by park staff for all animals that do not habitually move off a trail when a hiker approaches, even if they can be easily shooed away.

According to the plan, “The key action to prevent hazardous encounters with mountain goats is to not let them get habituated to human presence."

(report from October, 2010)

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