Go home, 'Atomic Goat'--no kidding Animal with radioactive collar sought.

July 09, 1991|By Knight Ridder

Posses using helicopters and airplanes are searching vast stretches of New Mexico for a most unusual fugitive -- a radioactive goat on the lam for two months.

Dubbed "The Atomic Goat," the animal escaped during one of those federal experiments that seemed like a good idea at the time. Luckily for it, but unhappily for the searchers, it does not glow in the dark.

"We haven't seen it or heard from it in a long time," said Mike Fall, a researcher at the Denver Wildlife Research Center.

The animal is one of 62 Angora goats fitted with collars holding radioactive isotopes and radio transmitters. The transmitters were supposed to track the goats' movements in New Mexico and determine the hunting patterns of coyotes. The isotopes would identify any coyotes that killed the goats, ingested the radiation and later were captured.

But 10 of the goats escaped to the wild, where they could mingle with bighorn sheep, now on New Mexico's endangered species list. Nine were recaptured, but the last apparently continues to roam, and the radio is no longer transmitting.

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