Ibex, any of several sure-footed, sturdy wild goats of the genus Capra in the family Bovidae that are found in the mountains of Europe, Asia, and northeastern Africa.
There are five species of ibex:
• Alpine ibex (Capra ibex)
• Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana)
• Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica)
• Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica)
• Walia ibex (Capra walie)
Ibex are found in the Alps, the Iberian peninsula and the mountains of Central Asia, the Caucasus, Arabia and North Africa.
They are usually at an elevation of 2,300 to 4,500 meters (7,500 to 14,750 feet) but have been spotted as high as 6,700 meters (22,000 feet).
The lifespan of Ibex is up to 20 years in the wild.
Ibex have very good climbing skills but avoids deep snow. They can climb trees to browse foliage if the lower branches are sturdy enough to carry its weight.
Ibex are very nimble. They can jump more than 1.8 meters (6 feet) straight up without a running start. This helps them climb mountainous terrain with ease.
Ibex are typically about 0.3 to 1.7 meters (1 to 5.5 feet) from their hooves to withers, the highest part of the shoulders at the base of the neck. Ibex tend to weigh about 30 to 120 kilograms (65 to 265 pounds).
The ibex’s colors change from a darkish brown in winter to a brownish gray in the summer. They have a blackish colored chest and forelegs, dark leg markings and a whitish underside. Their long horns are heavy, gnarled and curve up, back and down, although the females horns are shorter then the males. These horns are used to defend themselves against predators. The male ibexes are bearded.
They generally travel in small herds of about a dozen ibexes.
Ibex are strictly herbivorous, with over half of their diet consisting of grasses, and the remainder being a mixture of moss, flowers, leaves, and twigs. If leaves and shoots are out of reach, they often stand on their rear legs to reach this food.
The mating system is polygynous. Males compete in fighting competition to mate with a group of females. Gestation lasts around 167 days, and results in the birth of one or two kids, with twins making up about 20% of births. A day after parturition, the young are able to walk on the rock cliffs following their mothers.
The Nubian ibex has special grooming habits. Flocks of grackles peck at the hides of the ibex looking for parasites and any other insects that may be harmful to the ibex. There is only one grackle per ibex, and the grackles often compete for “their” ibex.
The Alpine ibex is a mountain icon. It is represented in many official emblems throughout the Alpine range, from France to Austria like the coat of arms of the Canton of Grisons in Switzerland or logos like Pro Natura.
Ibex are subject to a wide variety predators. Eagles, bears, leopards and humans all play significant roles in regulating the ibex population.
In January 2000, the Pyrenean ibex became extinct, but it has since become one of the primary missions of scientists attempting to bring it and other species back from extinction.