CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK) - Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has intervened to call off a planned mountain goat culling through aerial gunning at Grand Teton National Park. The action was to begin last Friday but was called off after Governor Mark Gordon complained.
Bernhardt's order to "stand down" came in a phone call to acting Grand Teton Park Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail late Friday.
In a strongly-worded letter to Bernhardt, Gordon criticized the Park Service's choice to "act unilaterally aerially executing mountain goats over the state of Wyoming's objections."
"I appreciate the excellent working relationship we have with Secretary Bernhardt and that he is willing to discuss this issue in more detail without the pressure of ongoing aerial hunting," Gordon said. "I look forward to a more fruitful conversation about better ways to address this issue in a more cooperative manner."
The aerial gunning targeted a population of non-native mountain goats that potentially threaten to spread disease to native bighorn sheep populations and compete with the sheep for habitat.
Wyoming's Game and Fish Commission passed a resolution last month condemning the project. Citing public disapproval, Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik made another request to stop the plan on Friday.
"We remain prepared to work with Grand Teton to meet their management objectives using methods that align with the value Wyoming people have for wildlife," Nesvik said.