A crowd of onlookers snapping pictures of a mountain goat chased the animal to its death in the small Alaska town of Seward.
Now the Division of Alaska State Troopers is asking visitors to “stay back for your own protection and the protection of the animal,” said spokeswoman Megan Peters.
The goat’s death was set in motion when it ventured to the south end of the Seward Harbor breakwater dike on Saturday, according to Peters.
Seward troopers received a report of onlookers harassing a mountain goat. But the white goat was gone by the time troopers arrived, Peters said.
A half hour later, another call was received about the goat swimming in the ocean in front of the SeaLife Center. Investigators determined that a large group had followed the animal to the aquarium and marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility, where it jumped into the ocean.
“They were trying to take a picture or just looking,” Peters said. “People come here to see wildlife.”
Unable to return to the rocky shore because of the people standing there, the goat drowned, according to a report of the incident.
“People like to get close to bears and moose and also goats,” Peters said. “In a lot of cases, people get mauled or trampled and attacked by the animal. This is the other side of it. It’s not uncommon for animals to try to swim and then drown.”
Alaska State Troopers said: “It is imperative that wildlife is given adequate space to be able to leave a congested area like downtown Seward.”
In May, a father-son duo at Yellowstone National Park spotted a newborn bison and thought it was cold and lost. They loaded the calf into their car.
But bison are seriously protective of their young. A calf removed from its mother will sometimes be rejected later.
Rangers were unable to reunite the calf with its herd.
Rangers had to euthanize it because, without a home to call its own, it kept running up to people and cars and “causing a dangerous situation,” the park service said.