The Pinto Creek Canyon Natural Area is home to Alberta’s only canyon-dwelling population of mountain goats. The natural area is located within the Forest Management Area of Hinton Wood Products, and the mountain goat population residing within the canyon has been monitored annually since 1999.
The monitoring program has used a variety of methods to estimate population numbers. It has relied primarily on observational methods that provide a minimum estimate of the number of females, males, young-of-the-year, and yearlings on an annual basis.
Between 2003 and 2008, Fiera Biological conducted observational surveys of the Pinto mountain goat population. In 2019, our team was again engaged by Hinton Wood Products to resume the observational surveys. In addition, we were asked to do a pilot study to determine whether non-invasive generic sampling can be used to get a reliable estimate of the mountain goat population.
This work contributes to a more complete understanding of habitat use, population size, and genetic diversity within this unique population of animals. The information will be used by Hinton Wood Products to inform forest management decisions and practices in proximity to the natural area.