GOATS (CAPRA) OF THE WORLD

ALPINE CHAMOIS

(Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra)


LOCATION: Indigenous Alpine chamois are found in the Alps of southeastern France, northern Italy, Switzerland, southwestern Germany, western Austria and Slovenia. They have also been introduced in a number of places in France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

DESCRIPTION: This goat’s shoulder height is around 30 inches and generally weighs less than 100 pounds. Summer coat is light brown. Winter coat is very dark brown to black, contrasting sharply with white areas of head, throat and rump, and with a dark facial mask very pronounced.


REMARKS: Alpine chamois numbers are estimated at around 400,000. Stable and increasing



ALPINE IBEX

(Capra ibex)


LOCATION: Free-ranging populations in Italy, and also in Switzerland, Austria and adjacent parts of France, Germany, and Slovenia. Once again numerous in some areas, with the largest population in Switzerland.  

DESCRIPTION: This goat’s shoulder height is 30-34 inches and weighs about 225-275 pounds. The Alpine ibex is a stocky animal, darker in color than other ibex. Males have a small beard and large, impressive horns that are shorter, thicker and straighter than those of other ibex.


HABITAT: High mountains, normally above the tree line and at or below the snowline. Ibex evolved in arid mountains with little snow, and were never widely distributed in the Alps. Good ibex range is limited to mountains with little precipitation and with sunny, snow-free areas where the animals can survive the winter.


REMARKS: Alpine ibex are available to foreign hunters in Austria and Slovenia, and in Switzerland by special permit. When free-ranging, they offer excellent sport and are one of Europe's most prestigious big game animals because of their relative scarcity, the difficult terrain they inhabit, and the quality of the hunting experience.



ALTAY IBEX

(Capra sibirica sibirica)


LOCATION: Predominantly in the Altay Mountains of Mongolia. However, there is a small population in the Sayan Mountains over the border of Mongolia in Russia.

DESCRIPTION: A large ibex, up to 220 pounds, thick-legged and stoutly built, with a long, pointed chin beard and heavy, scimitar-shaped horns. The summer coat is short, becoming long, coarse and brittle in winter with a dorsal crest and thick undercoat. Color is variable, but generally in summer it is some shade of yellowish or grayish-brown with a darker dorsal stripe, dark under parts and legs, and without a lighter saddle patch. Winter coat is yellowish-white and usually there is a large, light saddle patch. The dorsal stripe, tail and beard are blackish-brown. The male's horns are large and impressive, curving around to form three-fourths of a circle and tapering to relatively slender points. Horns are relatively flat on the front surface and have well-defined cross ridges.


HABITAT: Open, precipitous terrain at any altitude.

























AMERICAN MOUNTAIN GOAT

(Oreamnos americanus)


LOCATION: The high mountain ranges of northwestern North America, from southern Alaska southward through the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia to the Cascades of Washington, and in the Rockies of British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. There are also limited populations in the Yukon, and in the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories. It has been introduced on Kodiak, Baranof and Chichagof Islands in Alaska; on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington; in northeastern Oregon; in several areas in Montana; in the Black Hills of South Dakota; and in several ranges in Colorado.  

DESCRIPTION: The American mountain goat’s shoulder height is 35-40 inches and can weigh up to 300 pounds. The shaggy coat is white or yellowish white (vanilla) in color, with long under wool, and longer guard hairs that form a stiff mane on the neck and rump, and pantaloons on the thighs. The legs are long and heavy, and the large hoofs have rubbery pads in the center for sure footing on rock. Black scent glands are located behind the horns in both sexes. Both males and females grow short, sharp, black horns. The horns of the female are slimmer, straighter, and less divergent at the tips than those of the male, and can be longer as well.


HABITAT: Steep slopes, cliffs and glacier edges in alpine areas that have low temperatures and heavy snowfall. Sometimes in nearby meadows and valleys.


REMARKS: The mountain goat is a first-rate game animal. Its eyesight is as good as that of a mountain sheep and it occupies far more difficult ground. It is most easily stalked from above, because it does not usually anticipate danger from that quarter. A mountain goat makes a spectacular full mount, especially when taken in late season when the hair is long and thick. Care should be taken not to shoot one in a place where the brittle horns will be broken from a fall-or to shoot one where it cannot be recovered. When hunting in precipitous areas, ropes and other mountaineering gear should be available. Because of its generally inaccessible habitat, the mountain goat has been less affected by people than any other North American big game animal. The name "mountain goat" is misleading because, biologically, it is not a true goat; it is a member of the Rupicaprini tribe-the goat-antelopes-whose members are more primitive than true goats. They include the chamois of Europe and the serow and goral of Asia. Scientists believe the American mountain goat originated in Asia and migrated to North America over the Bering land bridge about 600,000 years ago.



ANATOLIAN CHAMOIS

(Rupicapra rupicapra asiatica)


LOCATION: Northern and eastern parts of Anatolia (Asian Turkey)

DESCRIPTION: This goat’s shoulder height is around 30 inches and weighs less than 100 pounds. General color is dark brown to black. Under parts are pale, rump is white. Throat, lower jaw, and front of face are white, and there are dark stripes across the eyes to the muzzle. Horns are generally not as heavy and long as some of the other chamois subspecies.



ASTOR MARKHOR

(Capra falconeri falconeri)


LOCATION: The Gilgit region of northern Pakistan on the slopes of Nanga Parbat and along the Indus River and its tributaries, among them the Gilgit, Astor and Hunza rivers. Along both banks of the Indus from Jalkot upstream to about Tungas near Skardu. Along the Gilgit as far upstream as Gakuch. Along the Astor as far as the Parashing Valley. Along the Hunza as far as Chalt.  

DESCRIPTION: This goat’s shoulder height is as much as 42 inches and weighs about 200-225 pounds. A large markhor. This is the typical race from which the species was first described. The coat is long and coarse in winter, though with very little under wool, and is much shorter in summer. The male's ruff is long and flowing. Typically, the horns of the Astor markhor flare very widely just above the base and have one to 1-1/2 twists, with the first turn being very large. They are massive and spectacular, though usually not as long as those of the Kashmir markhor. Most horns within the distribution range of the Astor markhor are of this type; however, horns of the Kashmir type with less flare and more twists are also seen. Heads from Baltistan, for example, are of a type between the Astor and the Kashmir.



BALKAN CHAMOIS

(Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica)


LOCATION: Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and various parts of the former Yugoslavia including Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Voivodina, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia (but not in Slovenia, which has only Alpine chamois). Indigenous populations of balcanica are found in the central region of Bosnia & Herzegovina, and in southwestern Kosovo near the border with Albania. There have also been introductions of balcanica in parts of Bosnia & Herzegovina, and in parts of Croatia and Serbia where chamois had not previously occurred.  

DESCRIPTION: Somewhat larger than the Alpine chamois, with longer horns.


REMARKS: Some say that introductions of Alpine chamois (R. r. rupicapra) have been made in southeastern Montenegro and southwestern Kosovo close to Albania; however, others deny this. While recognizing the possibility of hybrids in these areas, we elect to treat all chamois in the former Yugoslavia (except Slovenia) as Balkan chamois and all populations as indigenous. Numbers estimated at 29,000 (1981). Scarce in Greece, where it is heavily poached and subject to predation by feral dogs.



BECEITE IBEX

(Capra pyrenaica hispanica)


LOCATION: Mountains of Beceite and Tortosa in northeastern Spain.

DESCRIPTION: This is the largest and darkest type of Spanish ibex with the largest horns. Typically, the horns are straighter than in Gredos ibex and have a spiral turn of less than 180 degrees. Horn thickness remains constant for half the length, then decreases toward the tip, which is not as thin as in the Gredos race. While this is the typical Beceite horn conformation, other horn shapes may be found in this region and even in the same herd.


REMARKS: The Beceite ibex is one of three categories established for record-keeping purposes by splitting Mediterranean ibex (subspecies hispanica) into geographical groups based on horn size and shape. (The other two are southeastern Spanish ibex and Ronda ibex.)



BEZOAR (HYBRID) IIBEX

(Capra ssp)


LOCATION: Adiyaman Mountains, Turkey.  

DESCRIPTION: This animal is a cross between a Bezoar ibex and  a domestic goat that has escaped into the wild. A great variety of color variations as well as physical characteristics, including horns may exist from this cross-breeding. Horns are scimitar-shaped like that of the Bezoar, but are generally wider and flaring in appearance and lower in profile than that of the pure Bezoar ibex. Facial shape and profiles will more closely resemble that of the domestic goat including long, floppy type ears.


REMARKS: The Bezoar (Hybrid) ibex does not count for the 12 required for the Capra World Slam, but may be counted for the Super 20 and Super 30.



BEZOAR IBEX

(Capra aegagrus aegagrus)


LOCATION: Anatolia (Asian Turkey), northeastern Iraq, most of Iran and adjoining western Afghanistan. Also, in Armenia and extreme southern Turkmenistan. Its range overlaps that of the Dagestan (Eastern) tur in the Caucasus, although the tur is at higher elevations. Boundaries with the Sindh ibex to the east are unclear.

DESCRIPTION: This goat generally weighs less than 200 pounds. The bezoar is a beautiful animal with its blackish-brown markings contrasting dramatically with the lighter body color. Summer coat is a lighter reddish-brown color. The chin beard is long and black. Calluses develop on the knees and sometimes on the chest. Males have large horns and there is a distinct front edge which forms a keel for some distance, above which are bold, sharp-edged, widely separated knobs.


REMARKS: The bezoar ibex is sedentary, living its life in a small area. It favors steep, rocky terrain, whether in forests or arid regions. May be diurnal or nocturnal, depending on predator and human activity, but older males tend to sleep in hiding places (often caves) by day and feed at night. Both grazes and browses, often climbing trees to feed. Has been seen in trees 20 feet above the ground, and on limbs extending out over sheer cliffs. Extremely surefooted and agile. All senses are acute. This is an excellent game animal whose horns make a spectacular trophy.



BUKHARAN MARKHOR

(Capra falconeri heptneri)


LOCATION: Formerly in most of the mountains along the north banks of the upper Amu Darya and Pyandzh rivers from Turkmenistan to Tajikistan. Now reduced to scattered populations in the Kugitang (Koytendag Nature Reserve) range of extreme eastern Turkmenistan and southeastern Uzbekistan, in the area between the Pyandzh and Vakhsh rivers in southwestern Tajikistan, and in the northwestern part of the Darwaz Peninsula of northeastern Afghanistan near the Tajik border.

DESCRIPTION: The horns are relatively straight and in the form of a bold, tight corkscrew. This subspecies is the one commonly seen in zoos and game parks worldwide.



CANTABRIAN CHAMOIS

(Rupicapra pyrenaica parva)


LOCATION: Cantabrian Mountains of northwestern Spain.

DESCRIPTION: Shoulder height about 28 inches. Weight 45-75 pounds. This is the smallest of the chamois. It also has the lightest coloration. The summer coat is reddish, turning brown in winter. Under parts are pale. Rump, throat, lower jaw and front of face are yellowish. Horns are considerably smaller on average than the Pyrenean chamois.


REMARKS: Horns are considerably smaller on average than the Pyrenean chamois.



CARPATHIAN CHAMOIS

(Rupicapra rupicapra carpatica)


LOCATION: Romania, in the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvanian Alps.

DESCRIPTION: The largest of all chamois with the longest horns.


REMARKS: Numbers in 1990 were estimated at 9,000 and increasing.



CAUCASIAN CHAMOIS

(Rupicapra rupicapra caucasica)


LOCATION: The Caucasus Mountains of Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, and also in the Lesser Caucasus of southwestern Georgia near the Turkish border.  

DESCRIPTION: Similar to the Alpine chamois but somewhat smaller, with relatively short, stout horns.


REMARKS: Many times the Caucasian chamois can be taken as an additional animal while hunting for the Kuban (Western) tur in the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkesiya, Russia.