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Biology Facts:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Bovidae Subfamily: Caprinae Genus: Oreamnos  Species : O. americanus

Diet: Herbivore (browser)

Average lifespan: 9 to 15 years

Size:  Height at shoulder 3 to 3.5 ft (1 meter)

Horn size: Rarely exceed 10 inches from base

Group Name: Band or Herd

Adult Weight: 100 to 325 lbs (45 to 150 kg)

Males named: Billies (Billy)

Males tend to have larger horns than females

Females named: Nannies (Nanny)

Females tend to be smaller than males.

Juveniles name: Kids (Kid)

Horns (not antlers) are found on both males and females and are not shed annually.

Related North American Species: Musk Ox and Pronghorn Antelope

Migration Habits: Most nanny populations stay inside a defined range with billies ranging much further between bands.

Shedding time:  Begins in April

Breeding/Rut time: Annual November - December

Gestation period: 6 months (kids born in March-May)

Average kidding number: 1

Primary Causes of mortality: Falls, disease and parasites, starvation (lack of browse or age related dental issues), predation (Cougar, Bear, Coyote, Wolves, Eagles, and humans)

Food: broad food tolerances and eat almost any forage including species not normally used by other ungulates.

 

 

Issues which affect the Mountain Goat.

Fire suppression policies and natural forest succession continues to degrade critical mountain goat foraging habitat. Fire suppression allows conifers to invade these natural openings and decreases their foraging value for goats. The degradation and loss of alpine meadows, coupled with increasing recreational human use and disturbance of alpine habitat are likely the two greatest negative impacts to mountain goats. (WDFW 2010 Trend report)

Repeated disturbance by helicopters, snowmobiles, logging, or road building can cause displacement from habitat, group dissolution, nanny-kid separations, and injury (Chadwick 1983). The effects of climate change on subalpine and alpine habitat is also of importance to the conservation of this species. (Idaho Fish and Game website)

Water requirements are largely unknown. In some areas goats left areas when water dried up (Anderson 1940, Johnson 1983), which may explain the absence of goats from otherwise suitable habitat in Oregon (Wigal and Coggins 1982). Brandborg (1955) saw no evidence of daily movements to reach water in Idaho or Montana. Goats frequently eat snow, which may fulfill much of their water requirement. Further, succulent vegetation may allow goats to obtain their water requirement from forage. (Oregon Dept of Wildlife website)

Vehicle access linked to population declines (Joslin 1985). Low productivity and sociobiological characteristics combine to make sensitive to overharvest (Smith 1976, Burleigh 1978). May leave traditional areas in response to disturbances such as logging (Chadwick 1973, Joslin 1985). (Montana FW&P website)

Some goat populations depend on winter ranges where wildfires create early seral vegetation. In recent years, forest fire control has made many of those habitats less productive for goats. Allowing some wildfires to run their course and enhancing goat range through prescribed burning would help the recovery of goat populations.

 

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