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1 September 2008 Evaluating Historical Evidence for Occurrence of Mountain Goats in Oregon
Patrick E. Matthews, A. Corey Heath
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Abstract

Wildlife managers of the twentieth century generally accepted south central Washington as the southernmost range of indigenous mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) occurring in the coastal and Cascade mountains of North America. We reviewed historical publications to provide twenty-first century managers a more complete review of native mountain goat distribution. We encountered many misidentified or fictitious accounts of mountain goats during our review. Criteria used to dismiss non-credible material included physical descriptions, behavior, biology, and habitat of the animal discussed as well as incorrect geographic descriptions, history, or inconsistent documentation of other fauna. Archaeological evidence and a number of historical documents published during the 1800s and early 1900s place the mountain goat further south into Oregon. Small isolated populations occurring in Oregon were likely extirpated by the middle of the nineteenth century as a result of over harvest. The absence of physical evidence seems to be the primary reason that most modern day authors exclude Oregon from their description of historical mountain goat distribution. Based on our interpretation of the literature and understanding of mountain goat ecology, we suggest that mountain goats were native in historical times at least as far south as the central Cascades, and the northeast mountains of Oregon.

Patrick E. Matthews and A. Corey Heath "Evaluating Historical Evidence for Occurrence of Mountain Goats in Oregon," Northwest Science 82(4), 286-298, (1 September 2008). https://doi.org/10.3955/0029-344X-82.4.286
Received: 7 August 2006; Accepted: 1 April 2008; Published: 1 September 2008
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