Meet the new kids on the block: Two mountain goat kids find home at Oregon Zoo
There’s plenty of kidding around at the Oregon Zoo as two young Rocky Mountain goats settle into their new home. The fluffy 5-month-olds — a male named Murphy and a female named Lena — join adult mountain goats Sassy and Montane in the rocky Cascade Crest habitat near the zoo’s main entrance.
“We are so happy to welcome these kids into the herd,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s Great Northwest area. “They started scampering around their new habitat right away.”
The new goats may be young, but they’ve quickly mastered the art of hopping from rock to rock. Mountain goats have split hooves that can spread wide to improve their balance, and rough pads on the bottom help them grip slippery surfaces. Cutting predicts a lot of climbing, jumping and playing from the two kids in the coming months.
The kids arrived at the zoo as part of an effort by wildlife agencies to relocate mountain goats out of the Olympic mountains, where they are non-native — introduced there by a hunting group in the 1920s — and have become a threat to local wildlife.
Since September 2018, a total of 275 mountain goats have been translocated. The majority were moved to their native Cascade Mountain Range, where they will help restore depleted populations, but several of the youngest kids — including the zoo’s new arrivals — are being raised in human care, where they have the best chance of survival.
In the Pacific Northwest, wild mountain goats live on various peaks in the Washington Cascades and across Oregon ranges like the Elkhorns and Wallowas. More information about mountain goats and the Olympic conservation plan can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/oreamnos-americanus.