Helicopters circled up above. A sharpshooter in the sky pulled their rifle close, squinting to find their target. Then, the sniper fired. Down below, an innocent, peaceful mountain goat died with its mouth still full of the short grasses it was chewing.
And then another goat went down. And another. And another.
By the end of the massacre, 38 animals
-- who had just been minding their own business -- were dead, their blood staining an otherwise green mountainside in Grand Teton National Park.End the cruel, needless, and militaristic culling of innocent mountain goats!
These animals were all culled through a government program run by the National Park Service, which apparently thought these creatures were so dangerous that murdering them necessitated the use of aerial snipers and military-style executions.
The National Park Service claims it's taking these cold-blooded mercenary steps to protect the park's bighorn sheep from a herd of about 100 mountain goats, speculating that the animals might compete for the same food. Even if that were true, there are other solutions to this potential problem than simply killing a whole community of goats. But it's not true. In reality, the authorities are doing this to appease greedy trophy hunters.
While animals remain on national park grounds, they're protected from hunting -- but the moment they step off, they're considered fair game to shoot and kill. And trophy hunters don't really want to come home with the puny horns from a mountain goat's head. They'd rather bring home the impressive, majestic head of a bighorn sheep. Thus the cruel and unnecessary culling of mountain goats.
Luckily, some government officials are speaking out against this slaughter. Mark Gordon, the Governor of Wyoming, is furious that park authorities "chose to act unilaterally" in "aerially executing" these animals, and publicly wondered why officials couldn't find some other non-lethal compromise. Even Interior Secretary David Bernhardt -- someone who's not usually on our good list -- is demanding that the National Park Service suspend this call.
What happened to these animals is grotesque and horrendous. No animal deserves to be treated as though it's some sort of enemy of the state, with helicopters and aerial snipers sicced on it, and then murdered for no reason -- other than to satisfy big game hunters. Sign the petition to demand that the National Park Service publicly commit to never undertaking this kind of vicious execution of mountain goats again!