It’s fair to say that 2016 has been a (very) dark year thus far. If you’re looking for an uplifting story to make you feel better about humanity, you’ve come to the wrong place because this is awful: On July 16, a mountain goat died after being harassed by people in Alaska. The wild goat, rarely seen away from the mountains, jumped into the ocean and drowned while trying to escape people trying to photograph it.
Ugh. Come on, humans.
The mountain goat was spotted near the harbor in Seward, Alaska, on Saturday evening. According to a report from the Alaska Department of Public Safety, at around 6:30, Alaska Wildlife Troopers “received a report of individuals harassing a mountain goat on the south end of the Seward Harbor breakwater dike.” The goat had moved on by the time the troopers got there, but half an hour later they received a second report that the goat was swimming in the ocean in front of the Alaska SeaLife Center. The report states,
Investigation revealed a large amount of people followed the goat towards the SeaLife Center on the rocks resulting in the goat jumping back in to the water. The goat was unable to come back to the rocks due to the people standing on the rocks. The goat ended up drowning in the water.
Kerri O’Neill, who saw the goat after having dinner with her daughter in Seward, told KTUU that, in addition to the crowd of people obstructing the goat’s movements, there were dogs allowed to roam off-leash, which further frightened the animal.
Wildlife troopers blamed the goat’s death — which they described as occurring “for no cause” — on “[p]eople not giving the animal space and getting close to take photos.” In their report, they warned, “It is imperative that wildlife is given adequate space to be able to leave a congested area like downtown Seward."
Ken Marsh, a Fish and Game spokesman, told KTUU that people who encounter wild animals need to practice some good old “common sense.” “You need to give wildlife their space,” he said. “By getting too close you’re putting the animal in danger and yourself in danger.”
The troopers’ report says a “good Samaritan” retrieved the goat’s body, which was donated to charity.