|The mountain goat (Latin: Oreamnos americanus) is the even-toed ungulate of the Bovidae family.
The mountain goat is a mountain animal, and it inhabits remote places beyond the boundaries of the tree line and are found at an altitude of more than 3000m above sea level in summers. The mountain goat eats grass and lichens and can withstand the freezing winters of down to -40°С. The mountain goats are found in small herds. Mating of mountain goats takes place in November-December and they give birth in May-June, often only one kid and very rarely two.
The mountain goat is under protection. However, despite the relatively small number, the threat due to the inaccessibility of its habitat is insignificant.
The mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) makes an impression of a massive dense animal. The length of the body is 150-175 cm, the height is 90-105 cm and the weight 80—135 kg. The bent spine line is a characteristic for the mountain goats due to the raised mane of withers and the powerful croup. The head of the mountain goat is long and the eyes are small, located close under the horns. The horns are small and slightly bent backwards. In winters, the horns and hooves are black and are grey in summers. The wool is white, lengthy and very dense; especially long wool is found on the back of the head, withers, sacrum and the upper half of the legs. The undercoat (“fur”) is very thin and light. In the past, when mountain goats were huge in numbers, American - Indians collected molted wool from the cliffs and made yearn out of it, which was very costly. Mountain goats inhabit only the Rocky Mountains of North America. Presently, the mountain goats are preserved almost exclusively in the natural reserves of the USA, where only 1200 goats live and in Canada, where about 2000 goals live. Mountain goats are acclimatized on Baranof Island and Kodiak near Alaska. For most of the year, mountain goats live above the tree line and lead a settled way of life and stay at a single place for months together. As an exception for a short period, usually in the beginning of summer, the mountain goats come down into the forests to the saline soil. Possessing an improbable rock-climbing capability, mountain goats climb steep rocks with hardly appreciable ledges and cornices; it seems absolutely unclear as to how such large animals can hold there. Mountain goats move very slowly, lazily and seldom jump. If the mountain goats jump, they usually jump downwards and sometimes for 6 - 7 m onto hardly noticeable, quite often ice-covered ledges. If the area of the ledge is very small onto which the mountain goat has jumped, it does not try to stay on the ledge but instead pushes away from it and jumps onto the next ledge sometime making almost a 180° turn in air. In case of danger, the mountain goat does not take a full gallop, as other mountain goats do, it slowly leaves and it is possible to follow it from behind for a long time without losing sight of it. Possibly, no other animal exists, which can so absolutely adapt to life in the cliffs. It is no mere coincidence that all the animals leave the upper belt of the Rocky Mountains in winter, except the mountain goats. Mountain goats hardly have enemies and only pumas occasionally dare to attack the mountain goats in summer but the mountain goats protect themselves from the attacks using sharp horns and throwing the predator from cornices. The cases of attacks by grizzly bears, black bears and wolves on mountain goats are possible only when the mountain goats move into the valley to the saline soil. The kids are attacked by white-headed sea eagles. Mountain goats move alone or in small groups and the majority of the time, males and females with kids separately. During rut time, which occurs in November, the male finds a group of females and joins it. The presence of two males is possible sometimes in a small herd of females but the males keep some distance from each other. At this time, usually the snow-white wool of the males has dirty stains on the belly and thighs. This happens since the excited males sit like dogs on their hind legs and throw dirt on their belly and sides by digging “rut pits” using their front legs. Goats mark the rocks and cliffs with the help of the secretion of glands, located, as in the case of the chamois, at the back of the horns. In mountain goats, the female goat stands above the male in the hierarchy list and during the rut period, the male pursues behind the female on half- bent legs and with a stuck-out tongue, in a pose, expressing humility and submission. Then, the male approaches her with the ritual “hit while running”. If the male misbehaves, as wished by the female, then the female beats the male under the belly using her horns. During the encounter of males in the rut period, they stand side by side with heads looking different ways, stretch on the legs, bend their back and raise their wool demonstrating their power. If such a demonstration does not yield to a peaceful solution of “Who’s stronger?”, then the males start to make rounds around each other, keeping a mutual position and try to hit the hind legs or sides with the horns. Often, such fights quickly come to an end without blood, but sometimes goats nevertheless inflict on each other heavy and even deadly wounds. One or two kids are born in April-June. Within a few hours of birth, the kids can already walk along the cornices behind their mothers. It is completely banned to hunt mountain goats. In the last century, people hunted mountain goats only for the sake of their skins an exclusively thin, soft and light-weight wool.|