The mountain goat that fatally gored a man in Olympic National Park several weeks ago wasn’t diseased or disabled, but it was in breeding condition, or the rut.
Preliminary necropsy results show the mountain goat, an adult male, did not have viruses such as rabies, encephalitis, plague or tularemia, according to a news release from Olympic National Park.
The animal was killed after its Oct. 16 attack on Robert Boardman, 63. Boardman was hiking in the area with his wife and a friend.
Barb Maynes, a spokeswoman for Olympic National Park, said the rut “may have been a contributing factor,” but said that hikers have been around goats during breeding season before and it hasn’t been a problem.
“It’s unprecedented,” she said.
During the rut, she said male mountain goats are typically known to “keep an eye on their females,” and can be aggressive toward other males.
Rangers and wildlife biologists began monitoring daily goat behavior Oct. 18 but stopped Sunday because of recent snowfall. There were no observations of aggressive mountain-goat behavior.
Park biologists have put out a call for more information about mountain goat-human interactions from across the animals’ range. This winter, they will review the reports in detail, Maynes said.
Additional test results on the mountain goat are still awaiting completion, including one for Listeria, a chronic wasting disease. Maynes said those results should be released in another week.