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Goats blindfolded, sedated and flown back home by helicopter after wandering into wrong part of national park

More than 100 blindfolded, sedated goats have been flown by helicopter to pastures new after they travelled to remote parts of a US national park, raising fears they could endanger hikers.

The sure-footed mountain goats had ended up in the wrong place and so they had to be rounded up and flown dangling from helicopters to their rightful home.

The non-native mammals had been introduced to remote part of the Olympic National Park in Washington by humans back in the 1920s.

But they are being relocated to the Cascade Mountains where they belong.

The Olympics have few natural salt licks, deposits of minerals that animals lick to obtain nutrients.

This means that goats there will be attracted to the sweat, urine and food of hikers, potentially endangering the hikers.

One goat fatally gored a hiker in 2010.

The mountain range stretches from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon, to Northern California, where they belong.

The goats were drugged, blindfolded and flown in slings from the US National park. Credit: AP

However transporting the roughly 115 mountain goats to their original home is no mean feat.

So animal capture specialists called "gunners" and "muggers" were rallied up to sedate the animals with darts or capture them in nets.

The goats had to be blindfolded, their horns padded and flown on slings dangling from a helicopter to a staging area.

A wildlife capture specialist known as a Credit: AP

There, they were looked over by vets and fitted with tracking collars before being trucked to the Cascades and once again flown by helicopter, this time into their new alpine habitats.

The relocations began last year, following a years-long stretch of planning and public comment, with 115 of the roughly 725 mountain goats in the Olympics being moved to the Cascades.

There was no kid-ing around on this mission. Credit: AP

Officials captured 17 of the animals on Monday and Tuesday at the start of a two-week goat relocation period, including six-week-old kid which got a ride on a mugger’s lap inside the helicopter instead of hanging beneath it.

A coalition of state and federal agencies and American Indian tribes is behind the effort, which involves closing parts of the park, including the Seven Lakes Basin and Klahhane Ridge.

A second two-week closure period is planned for August.