No kidding: This 'Sassy' mountain goat loves to play

July 13, 2017 - 3:59pm

Spunky youngster turns her Oregon Zoo habitat into a parkour playground

Lounging or grazing among the rocky crags of their Cascade Crest habitat, the Oregon Zoo mountain goats are sometimes so still that they're easy to miss. But, as some visitors know, there's a whole other side to this impressive alpine species.

Last week, zoo curator Amy Cutting got iPhone video of the active and inquisitive Sassy and her somewhat reserved friend Montane enjoying an energetic bout of poetry-in-motion parkour.

"They are shedding their winter coats and getting excitable with the warm weather," Cutting said. "This video was taken pretty early in the morning when it was still cool out. It is also a sign that our females are starting to get along. Sassy has been trying to get Montane to play for a while now, and Montane is finally figuring it out. She has only ever lived with an elderly female or a male, who were decidedly less spunky."

"Sassy's definitely living up to her name," added Julie Christie, senior keeper for the North America section. "She's younger than the other two mountain goats here, and she continues to surprise us with her energy and curiosity."

Sassy was born May 28, 2015, at the Calgary Zoo and made her Portland debut this February. The zoo's male mountain goat, Honovi, has been shy around both females so far, but caregivers hope they eventually will produce offspring, adding to the population of this iconic Northwest species. Fewer than 10 AZA-accredited zoos currently house mountain goats.

Honovi was born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in May 2010, and came to Portland in 2015 as a companion for Montane. Montane, who moved here in 2009, was an orphan rescued by Idaho wildlife officials.

Mountain goats are known for their amazing climbing and balancing abilities. In the Pacific Northwest, wild mountain goats can be seen on various peaks in the Washington Cascades and Olympic Peninsula, and across Oregon ranges like the Elkhorns and Wallowas.