SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Conservationists say mountain goats that were introduced by state wildlife officials in Utah's La Sal Mountains are damaging Mount Peale's fragile alpine ecosystems.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports wildlife officials are now developing proposals to establish goat herds in other Utah ranges where this big game species is not native.

Conservationists complain the state is sacrificing alpine landscapes just to provide more opportunities for big game hunting. Researchers say the La Sals are already showing signs where wallowing goats have exposed soils and left excrement and hair all around.

Big game specialist Rusty Robinson says officials with the state Division of Wildlife Resources are gathering data on alpine plant communities and will hold public meetings as they develop a Deep Creeks goat plan over the next year.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com