The culling of mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park begins today. Up to 70 volunteer teams were randomly selected for seven operational periods between today and November 6th. An optional operational period in mid-November may be added, depending on conditions. The volunteers must pass a mandatory firearm proficiency evaluation and have a high level of physical fitness as they may need to hike up to 20 miles per day at altitude in extremely rough mountainous terrain to reach the goats. Additional comprehensive training to participate in this program includes bear spray deployment, backcountry tracking, radio protocols, species identification, and disease sample collection. The teams will each be assigned one of ten geographic zones throughout the entire Teton Range within the park. All volunteers for the culling program will be clearly identified as a “National Park Service Qualified Volunteer” with an orange bib on their back as well as an orange or pink hat. The Teton Range is home to a small herd of about 100 native bighorn sheep. As one of the smaller and most isolated herds in Wyoming that has never been extirpated or augmented, it is of high conservation value to the park, adjacent land and wildlife managers. Mountain goats were introduced into the Snake River Range in Idaho and have expanded and reached the Teton Range. They are a threat since they compete for habitat and can carry bacterial diseases that are lethal to bighorn sheep.