(Ron Wilson photo)

What you see …

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Fall brings out the best in flora and fauna throughout the West Kootenay.

Ron Wilson’s sharp eye spotted these mountain goats peering down on Gyro Park last week.

If you have a recent photo you would like to share with readers, email it (large size) to editor@trailtimes.ca.

Previous: Mountain goat stuck under Trail bridge (video)

~ Mountain Goats in British Columbia

No other hoofed mammal on the continent, and few outside it, are so superbly adapted to steep terrain and severe winters.

The shaggy white Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) is in many respects a peculiar beast. This muscular, plodding mountaineer is a product of the Pleistocene ice age whose snowy colour makes it well-adapted for escaping detection in wintry landscapes.

No other hoofed mammal in North America, and few outside it, are so superbly adapted to steep terrain and severe winters.

Though often called a “goat-antelope,” it is neither. It has no close relatives in North America, and its closest kin in Europe and Asia are not very similar.

British Columbia is the heartland of Mountain Goats and contains more than half of the world’s population.

But because of its lofty, remote haunts, it is the least familiar of our hoofed mammals (ungulates).

The universally white colour of the Mountain Goats suggests that the species evolved for thousands of years in close association with snow and ice.

In British Columbia, goats are present in most mountain ranges except for those on Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlottes, and other coastal islands.

They exhibit a wide tolerance for climatic conditions, from tidewater along coastal inlets to the Continental Divide and from the arid Similkameen valley to the Yukon border.

Though mostly confined to prominent mountain ranges, some Mountain Goats occur along river canyons cut through plateaus – for example, the Stikine Canyon.

According to recent estimates, the number of Mountain Goats in North America has varied from about 75,000 to 100,000. This number includes 14,000 to 15,000 in the western states, 10,000 to 25,000 in Alaska, about 50,000 in British Columbia, and small numbers in Alberta, Yukon, and Mackenzie Territory.

During the 1900s, and particularly from 1950 to 1975, goat numbers declined in many areas, primarily because of over-hunting. Recent hunting restrictions and reintroductions have largely reversed that trend.

In British Columbia,goats are more numerous in the northwest part of the province, but substantial populations occur throughout the main chain of the Rockies and in the Coast, Cariboo, Selkirk and Purcell ranges.

~ Sourced from BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks


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