Zoo News is Good News: New kid on the rock, Mountain goat Sassy has a baby

By Oregon Zoo Staff

Mountain goat Sassy and her newborn in the Cascade Crest at the Oregon Zoo. ©Oregon Zoo / photo by Kathy Street

Visitors don’t need to go far to see the Oregon Zoo’s newest resident: a precocious newborn mountain goat. Sassy, one of the zoo’s adult mountain goats, gave birth May 19, and can be seen with her new kid amid the rocky crags of the Cascade Crest habitat just past the zoo’s main entrance.

While mothers of some species keep their newborns hidden away for weeks, mountain goat kids are typically on their feet within minutes after birth, quickly learning to navigate their sparse and rocky alpine environment. Sassy’s kid was no exception, according to Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s Great Northwest area.

“We saw it do a playful hop less than an hour after it was born,” Cutting said. “Mountain goat kids are extremely precocious.”

Zoo animal-care experts will keep a watch on the pair to ensure all is going well, but Sassy doesn’t seem to need any help, according to Cutting.

“So far, she’s been very attentive and is nursing her kid regularly,” Cutting said. “The two have been heard vocalizing to each other and they seem to be bonding well.”

In the Pacific Northwest, wild mountain goats live on various peaks in the Washington Cascades and across Oregon ranges like the Elkhorns and Wallowas. They also can be seen on the Olympic Peninsula, where they are non-native — introduced there by a hunting group in the 1920s — and have become a threat to local wildlife.

In March, the National Park Service announced plans to relocate 90 percent of the Olympic mountain goat population to its native range. The Oregon Zoo has contributed $5,000 toward transport enclosures to aid in the effort.

To see video of Sassy and her kid, go to bit.ly/BabyMountainGoat.