On a summer day at 3,000' in the open green alpine of Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska, a creamy white mountain goat peers over a cliff. Mountain goats were introduced to Baranof Island in 1923, but those goats are not the ancestors of this big nanny. Her ancestors were here in the ice age.
A hundred years ago, believing there were no goats on Baranof, Alaska's territorial governor authorized a transplant. 18 mountain goats were captured in Tracy Arm, a fjord south of Juneau, and brought about 100 miles west to Baranof and released. Over subsequent decades the population grew, and in 2005 a survey counted 1,500 goats. In recent years, tho, researchers studying mountain goat genetics discovered there are two, different lineages on Baranof- one a carbon copy of those Tracy Arm mtn goats - and another that's unique to Baranof Island.
During the ice age, parts of Southeast Alaska, including parts of Baranof Island, were ice free and served as refugia for many different animals. It turns out that mountain g oats had been living in the remote mountains of Baranof for thousands of years when the new goats were introduced.