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Mountain Goat Study

Mt Goats The Refuge initiated a pilot study of mountain goats in 2011 to better understand their population trends and resource use on Kodiak. 

2011 Annual Report: Kodiak Island Mountain Goat Behavior, Diet, and Feeding Site Selection Patterns  

In response to an irrupting population of non-native mountain goats (Oreamnus americanus), Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge developed a research plan to better understand the relationship among mountain goat population dynamics, resource selection patterns, and hunting regulations. For the first stage of this project, we conducted a pilot study aimed at quantifying mountain goat behavior, diet, and feeding site selection patterns across three study sites on Kodiak Island that had different mountain goat population densities and histories of occupancies. The results from scan sampling mountain goat group behaviors revealed that mountain goat spend the majority of their time during the summer days feeding or bedded, although the proportions of these behaviors varied among mountain goat populations. Microhistological analyses of mountain goat pellets indicated that sedges, forbs, and fern rhizomes were important summer forage (June-August). Fern rhizomes were largely consumed in early summer (June), before and during vegetative green-up. As the summer progressed, fern rhizomes consumption declined in favor of sedges and forbs. To quantify feeding site selection, we compared the diversity, and percentage frequency, and cover of habitat types between mountain goat feeding sites and available alpine sites. Our results indicated that mountain goats selected summer feeding sites with abundant long-awned sedge (Carex macrochaeta) and in close proximity to escape terrain. Feeding site selection varied little among Kodiak’s mountain goat populations. Overall, our results are some of the first on Kodiak mountain goat diets, feeding site selection and behaviors, and will help guide management and future research of the population.
Full Report 

Research Poster  

Last Updated: Apr 09, 2012
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