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Mountain goats have been among the least studied of North American ungulates, leaving wildlife managers with little information on which to base harvest strategies or conservation plans.
This book offers the first comprehensive assessment of the ecology and behavior of mountain goats, setting forth the results of a remarkable 16-year longitudinal study of more than 300 marked individuals in a population in Alberta, Canada. The authors' thorough, long-term study allowed them to draw important conclusions about mountain goat ecology - including individual reproductive strategies, population dynamics, and sensitivity to human disturbance - and to use those conclusions in offering guidance for developing effective conservation strategies.
The chapters examine: habitat use, vegetation quality, and seasonal movements; sexual segregation and social organization; individual variability in yearly and lifetime reproductive success of females; age- and sex-specific survival and dispersal; reproductive strategies and population dynamics; and management and conservation of mountain goats. The book also draws on the rich literature on long-term monitoring of marked ungulates to explore similarities and differences between mountain goats and other species, particularly bighorn sheep and ibex.
By monitoring a marked population over a long period of time, researchers were able to document changes in sex-age structure and identify factors driving population dynamics.
Marco Festa-Bianchet is professor of ecology at the Universite de Sherbrooke, in Sherbrooke, Quebec. His research links individual reproductive strategies with population dynamics and conservation. Steeve D. Cote is associate professor of animal ecology at Universite Laval in Quebec City, Quebec. His research interests include behavioral ecology of large herbivores, evolution of life-history strategies, wildlife management, conservation biology, and population genetics.