A happy, hoppy playdate for zoo's two mountain goat kids

July 12, 2018 - 1:08pm

Zoo's young mountain goat kids, Finnegan and Piper, met for the first time on Friday

A lot of happy hopping could be seen at the Oregon Zoo Friday when a pair of mountain goat kids, both just weeks old, met each other for the first time. As 3-week-old Piper peeked her head outside, big brother Finnegan ran toward her excitedly, and before long the two kids were off exploring together.

Finnegan, born May 19 to Sassy, and Piper, born June 18 to Montane, had been taking turns outside while both the moms and babies settled into their new routines. Though Friday was the kids' first physical encounter, the two have been smelling and hearing each other since Piper was born.

"We waited until both kids were big enough to meet," said keeper Michelle Schireman, who supervised Friday's introductions. "Now that Finnegan and Piper are together, we anticipate a lot of playful behavior from these two."

Though the kids share a father, Honovi, and both have wooly white fur, they're easy to tell apart. Piper is much smaller than Finnegan — and, according to keeper staff, she's a little braver than he is when it comes to climbing.

Mountain goat kids spend a lot of time climbing and playing, learning to navigate the rocky terrain they call home. As Piper and Finnegan grow, guests can expect to see them chasing each other around Cascade Crest, climbing rocks and practicing their signature hops.

"It's going to be a lot of fun watching them grow up together," Schireman said.

In the Pacific Northwest, wild mountain goats live on various peaks in the Washington Cascades and across Oregon ranges like the Elkhorns and Wallowas. They also can be seen on the Olympic Peninsula, where they are non-native — introduced there by a hunting group in the 1920s — and have become a threat to local wildlife.

In March, the National Park Service announced plans to relocate 90 percent of the Olympic mountain goat population to its native range. The Oregon Zoo has contributed $5,000 toward transport enclosures to aid in the effort.