Environmental Management

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 189–197

Mountain goat response to hydroelectric exploration in northwestern British Columbia

  • Bryan R. Foster
  • Engel Y. Rahs

DOI: 10.1007/BF01867280

Cite this article as:
Foster, B.R. & Rahs, E.Y. Environmental Management (1983) 7: 189. doi:10.1007/BF01867280


The behavioral responses of more than 800 mountain goats, comprised of 195 social groups, were recorded during hydroelectric exploration activities (primarily aircraft) in northwestern British Columbia. Four categories of overt response were recorded during case tests, ranging from maintenance activity to severe flight. More than 80 percent (n=667) of the observed goats elicited some form of behavioral stress-response, with 33 percent (n=265) displaying a severe flight response to local rock or plant cover. Multiple regression analysis inferred goat responses to be statistically independent of the time of year, type, and vertical orientation of disturbance and group size. As expected, significant correlations (p≤0.05) existed between distance of disturbance, geographic area, cover availability, and degree of awareness. Responses were stimulated primarily by auditory and secondarily by visual cues. Repeated aerial and ground follow-up surveys documented temporary range abandonment and changing observability indices (habitat use and activity patterns) associated with areas of intense exploration activity. The assessed data offer mitigation possibilities and enable formulation of management guidelines to lessen project impacts during future exploration, construction, and operation phases.

Key words

Mountain goatOreamnos americanusIndustrial disturbanceHydroelectric explorationBehavior response

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan R. Foster
    • 1
  • Engel Y. Rahs
    • 1
  1. 1.Mar-Terr Enviro Research Ltd.VancouverCanada