Mountain goats are “white walkers” even when winter isn’t coming. They keep their white coats all year round. At Fiera Biological we study a population of mountain goats in west central Alberta and for part of that study, we are using remote cameras to better understand how predators (and their typical “not mountain goats” prey) use the habitat surrounding the cliff habitat that the goats are using.
We deployed 49 cameras systematically within and around the mountain goat habitat. The cameras are mounted to trees with views of game trails and linear features like all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails and seismic lines, and each camera has been placed according to the age of the surrounding forest. In the first year of the study, the cameras collected over 125,000 photos, and we will be retrieving all the cameras in the fall of 2024. So far, we’ve captured some amazing images. This includes everything from woodchucks and bushy-tailed woodrats, to cougars, grizzlies, and wolverines. Although we aren’t specifically trying to get pictures of the white walkers, we are getting lots of images of mountain goats, and getting a better idea of how they use the forests surrounding their core habitats.
Tune in next month when we blog about Canada lynx and share some more of our photos.