A penchant for pee

  • Mountain goat

    D.F. Reed
  It's Miller Time for mountain goats in Colorado's San Juan National Forest when hikers and hunters head home. The goats come down from the high country to congregate at campsites where visitors have urinated. Driven by a craving for salt, the animals have torn up the tundra in the forest's Weminuche Wilderness. "It's a strange situation," says wilderness coordinator Jim Upchurch in the Gunnison County Times, "and not a habit we want the goats to pass on" to their kids. The goats' penchant for pee, which brings as many as 40 of the shaggy animals to a campsite, is reminiscent of a problem caused by mountain goats in Glacier National Park in Montana (HCN, 9/5/94). There, goats lick sweet-tasting antifreeze and create traffic jams when tourists stop to gawk. Solutions considered for the San Juan goats' salty addiction include strategic placement of salt licks and restrictions for campers in some backcountry areas.

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