The American mountain goat is one of the most elusive and least familiar species of hoofed mammals in North America. Confined to the remote and rugged mountains of the western United States and Canada, these extraordinary mountaineers are seldom seen or encountered. It’s life and fortunes may be the least well-understood among the continent’s large mammals. Life on the Rocks offers an intimate portrayal of this remarkable animal through the eyes and lens of field biologist and photographer Bruce Smith.
More than 100 color photographs and accounts of Smith’s personal experiences living in Montana’s Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area accompany descriptions of the American mountain goat’s natural history. Smith explores their treacherous habitat, which spans the perilous cliffs and crags of the Rocky, Cascade, and Coast mountain ranges. The physical and behavioral adaptations of these alpine athletes enable them to survive a host of dangers, including six-month-ling winters, scarce food sources, thunderous avalanches, social strife, and predators like wolves, bears, lions, wolverines, and eagles. Smith also details the challenges these animals face as their territory is threatened by expanding motorized access, industrial activities, and a warming climate.
Life on the Rocks showcases the elegance and charm of this little-known creature dwelling in some of North America’s most remote, unforgiving, and spectacular wildlands.
Author Bio: Bruce L. Smith is a veteran wildlife manager and scientist of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He is the author of three other books and a recipient of a 2012 Montana Book Award for Where Elk Roam. He lives in Bozeman, Montana. Visit his website at www.brucesmithwildlife.com