Mountain goat struck and killed by lightning at Kamloops wildlife park

An unfortunate event happened at the B.C. Wildlife Park in Dallas, during Tuesday's thunderstorm — one of the park's animals was struck by lightning.

The park announced today (Sept. 5), via Facebook. that Gustav the mountain goat died in the incident.

"It is with incredibly heavy hearts that we share the devastating news that our beloved Gustav was struck and killed by lightning during the storm," reads the statement on the park's Facebook page. "This tragedy has left the entire BC Wildlife Park team in shock and disbelief."

Gustav was found when he still a kid (the name for young goats) in the Kaslo area wandering alone without his mother last spring. He had to be bottle-fed when he was first in human care and the team worked hard to make sure he was healthy as he adjusted to life at the park and with his sheep friend Dave.

"Although Gustav had a difficult start in life, he was feisty — full of energy and life, and he particularly enjoyed making extra work for his keepers by constantly butting over his water dish," reads the statement.

Animal health supervisor Tracy Reynolds says park staff are sad but faring OK after the discovery Wednesday morning.

"He was the nicest, funnest little guy; we were lucky to have him in our lives," she tells KamloopsMatters. "He had a super fun, excellent life. He was a happy goat."

Reynolds was actually the person who took care of Gustav when he arrived in Kamloops. At first, he needed 24/7 supervision, so she would take him home at night and bottle feed him.

"I'm still his mom," she says. "And he was still very attached to me."

Reynolds was also the one to find Gustav yesterday when she was doing morning rounds. She had planned on training with the young goat, but when she found him she could tell immediately that he had died.

"Every time there's a storm like that we worry about trees falling," she says. "I honestly thought it could have been electrocution, but I thought it was so unlikely."

She adds it's not unheard of for animals to be killed by lightning; more often it happens with livestock, which huddles together, often near a fence. Gustav was found next to a fence. Reynolds says he looked nearly perfect.

The park did a necropsy to find out the cause, and it was immediately apparent what had happened.

"It was instant; I knew there was nothing we did that could have changed things," Reynolds says. "We always want to know what happens when something dies, because we always want to learn."

Editor's note: This story was updated with quotes from Tracy Reynolds.

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