Gustav the Kamloops mountain goat's death a 'freak accident' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Gustav the Kamloops mountain goat's death a 'freak accident'

B.C. Wildlife Park animal care supervisor Tracy Reynolds holding Gustav the mountain goat in this undated photo. He was struck and killed by lightning during a powerful storm on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ B.C. Wildlife Park
September 06, 2019 - 6:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Tracy Reynolds found mountain goat Gustav’s lifeless body in B.C. Wildlife Park’s goat habitat on Wednesday, Sept. 4, after a powerful storm hit the city.

Reynolds, the park's animal care supervisor, says she knew right away the young goat had passed away.

“I immediately called for animal care to come up because it meant we were going to have to go into the pen to retrieve his body,” she says.

A necropsy was performed on Gustav’s body later that night that determined he had several lesions on the right side of his body and near his heart and he had been hit by lightning.

“We were all very close to him, he was a special animal, this is a hard one for everybody,” said Reynolds. “I’m pretty down, it’s been quite a rough week”

In all the time Reynolds has worked at the park she has never seen an animal get hit by lightning. She said there isn’t much staff could’ve done to avoid the tragedy.

“Thunderstorms come up super fast and it’s hard to predict when they are happening especially in the middle of the night,” she says.

If protocols were to change to bring animals indoors during storms, the animals could still get hurt, she says.

“If they are leaning up against a wall they could still get electrocuted and if they are inside and scared they could hurt themselves trying to find somewhere out of that building,” she says. “Most of the time, we want the animals to put themselves where they are comfortable in a storm so that’s what we let them do.”

Reynolds says it is uncommon, but these incidents do happen.

“It’s really a freak thing but it happens to people, it happens to livestock, it happens to animals out in the wild, there is nothing to do to prevent it,” she says.

She is also planning a private little smudging ceremony for staff in honour of him.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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