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.


























CHARTREUSE CHAMOIS

(Rupicapra rupicapra cartusiana)


LOCATION: This chamois is found only on the Chartreuse massif of the northern French Alps in southeastern France. Geographically it is part of the "Chaines Subalpines Septentrionales" and is home to the "Regional Nature Park Chartreuse." The political region is called "Rhone-Alpes" and lies between the cities of Grenoble and Chambéry. Against the East and Southeast the wide valley of the Isere divides it from the high alpine Chain of Belledonne. In the southwest of the Chartreuse Massif the Isere river makes a sharp curve and flows into the Cluse de l'Isère towards the northwest. This is the southwestern limit of the Chartreuse Massif and its border towards the Vercors Massif.

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: Hunter/collectors hunting for this species of chamois should be aware that France is host to three different chamois species: Pyrenean chamois, Chartreuse chamois and Alpine chamois.



CHILTAN WILD GOAT

(Capra falconeri jerdoni x Capra aegagrus blythi)


LOCATION: In the early 1970s there were four or five populations in the Chiltan, Murdar, Koh-i-Maran, and Koh-i-Gishk ranges south of Quetta, Pakistan. By 1975, uncontrolled hunting by locals had reduced these to one population of about 170 animals in what is now Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park. Given protection within the park, the numbers increased to 480 by 1990.  

DESCRIPTION: Young males are reddish-gray, with increasing amounts of white and gray on shoulders and back. Some males have dark brown or almost black chests, and sometimes a dark shoulder stripe. Males do not have a ruff. The horns are the most distinctive feature, being intermediate in shape between those of a bezoar ibex and a markhor. They are flattened in cross section and sharply keeled in front (whereas markhor horns have the sharp keel in back) and form a long, open spiral that is normally a complete turn or a little more.



DAGESTAN (EASTERN) TUR

(Capra cylindricornis)


LOCATION: Eastern part of the Caucasus Mountains east of Mt. Dykhtau. Habitat is usually in open, precipitous terrain at higher elevations as high as 12,000 feet, but may also be found lower down in thick forest. Descends to lower elevations in winter to escape heavy snow.  

BEHAVIOR: Gregarious, sometimes in large herds numbering several hundred. Prefers to feed on forbs and grasses, but will browse. Obtains water from small pools high in the mountains. An extremely good climber as are all goats.


DESCRIPTION: This animal is not a sheep, but a goat (ibex type). However, the horns resemble the blue sheep enough to have interested sheep hunters for a long time. Shoulder height 31-39 inches. Weight 120-175 pounds, sometimes to 220 pounds. Somewhat smaller and decidedly darker in color than the west Caucasian tur. The coat is uniformly reddish-brown in summer, with under parts whitish and the tail, breast and lower legs darker. Turns a uniform dark brown in winter, with under parts slightly lighter and the tail, breast and lower legs much darker. There is a small white rump patch. Beard is dark and very short (up to three inches) and difficult to detect in some animals. The horns are quite unusual for a goat, being smooth and rounded, curving above and behind the neck (supracervical), with the tips turning inward and upward; they are quite similar to those of the Himalayan blue sheep but are more massive.


REMARKS: The Ovis World Slam includes this tur and it also counts toward the Capra World Slam.The Dagestan (Eastern) tur, like all tur, is a very fine and sporting game animal. It is hunted in steep, high mountains where good physical condition is a must, long shots may be required, and even an average trophy is something to be proud of. Weather in this region is much better than in the western Caucasus.



FERAL GOAT

(Capra Hircus)


LOCATION: Free-ranging world-wide.

DESCRIPTION: These are domestic goats living in the wild, either from releases or escapes from confinement. Domestic goats have been introduced throughout the world and have become feral in many areas. Feral goats include many domestic breeds, therefore a variety of colors, body types and horn configurations may be seen. The horns (both sexes) resemble horizontal corkscrews, rising somewhat from the skull, and then sweeping outward in a tight homonymous spiral of up to three turns.


REMARKS: The feral goat does not count for the 12 or Super 20, but may be counted for the Super 30



GORAL

(Naemorhedus goral)


LOCATION: Himalayan goral: The southern side of the Himalayan Range from Kashmir and Punjab eastward to Bhutan. Long-tailed goral: Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, eastern China, Korea, eastern Manchuria, and the Amur region of extreme eastern Siberia.

DESCRIPTION: Himalayan goral: Shoulder height 23-28 inches. Weight 48-77 pounds. Somewhat resembles a serow, differing by its smaller size, shorter horns, lack of facial glands, and certain details of the skull. Stocky and goatlike in build, with strong, stout legs, a somewhat arched back and a concave facial profile. The hair is coarse and shaggy, overlying a short, woolly undercoat. In males, there is a slight crest of hairs along the back of the neck. The tail is short and bushy. Long-tailed goral: Differs from the Himalayan goral by usually having a longer coat and a long, tufted tail. The Long-tailed goral from eastward across southern China has a comparatively short, not woolly, coat. The tail is moderately bushy, 5-6 inches long, and the upper and lower surfaces of the tuft are black. Color is very variable, ranging from ashy-gray to yellowish-brown, with a distinct dark dorsal stripe. The throat patch is more or less yellow, at least at the edges. A black stripe is on the front of the forelegs above the knees, and continuing down the outer shanks.


HABITAT: Steep, rugged, forested mountains at elevations of 3,000-9,000 feet. Seems to prefer the most difficult terrain possible.


BEHAVIOR: Active early morning and late evening, or throughout the day when it is cloudy. Rests during the middle part of sunny days, lying motionless and blending with the surroundings. Diet includes grasses, shrubs, twigs and nuts. Requires water. Vision is acute, hearing good. Alarm call is a hissing or sneezing sound.



GREDOS IBEX

(Capra pyrenaica victoriae)


LOCATION: Mountains in west-central Spain, especially the Gredos and Batuecas mountains.  

DESCRIPTION: After the Beceite ibex, the Gredos ibex is the largest and darkest in color and has the largest horns. Typically, the horns are lyre-shaped with a pronounced curve and a spiral turn of more than 180 degrees. Horn thickness decreases progressively from the base to the very thin tip. While this is the typical Gredos horn conformation, other horn shapes may be found in this region and even in the same herd.



HIMALAYAN IBEX

(Capra sibirica hemalayanus)


LOCATION: Both sides of the western Himalayas from Chitral in Pakistan, eastward to Leh and the upper Shyok River in Ladakh, and southeastward to the upper Sutlej River in northern India.

DESCRIPTION: A big male will stand 40 inches at the shoulder and weigh 200 pounds. Coat is thick and woolly in winter, being shed in early summer. Color is very variable, ranging from pale brown to dark brown, with a darker dorsal stripe and often a lighter saddle patch and whitish neck patch.



HIMALAYAN TAHR

(Hemitragus jemlahicus)


LOCATION: A narrow strip along the southern flanks of the Himalayas from about Banihal Pass in the Pir Panjal Range of northern India eastward to Bhutan. It penetrates the main Himalayan Range only in some of the large gorges.

DESCRIPTION: This goat’s shoulder height is 36-40 inches and weighs about 180-200 pounds, sometimes more. A medium-sized, powerfully built animal with a full coat of hair and a shaggy mane around the neck and shoulders and extending to the knees. The overall color varies, but in most cases is a dark reddish-brown with a yellowish mane and a dark, sometimes indistinct, dorsal stripe. The face is always dark brown. The horns (both sexes) are short, stout, laterally compressed, keeled in front and curved backward to a tapered point.


HABITAT: A combination of big cliffs, rocks and forest.


REMARKS: Gregarious, in large herds, with adult males forming separate herds during the summer. Prefers to live on steep slopes that are more or less timbered. The tahr has remarkable climbing ability on the steepest cliffs. Does not like snow, keeping below it to as low as 5,000 feet, then following it up as it melts. Active morning and evening, resting midday. Feeds on grasses and foliage. Wary and difficult to approach. Eyesight very good, hearing and sense of smell not known.


















HIMALAYAN/NEW ZEALAND TAHR

(Hemitragus jemlahicus)


LOCATION: The South Island of New Zealand.

DESCRIPTION: This goat’s shoulder height is 36-40 inches and weighs about 180-200 pounds, sometimes more. A medium-sized, powerfully built animal with a full coat of hair and a shaggy mane around the neck and shoulders and extending to the knees. The overall color varies, but in most cases is a dark reddish-brown with a yellowish mane and a dark, sometimes indistinct, dorsal stripe. The face is always dark brown. The horns (both sexes) are short, stout, laterally compressed, keeled in front and curved backward to a tapered point.


HABITAT: Cliffs, steep mountain slopes and high pastures, at altitudes up to about 8,500 feet.


REMARKS: Outside Asia, has been introduced in the wild on the South Island of New Zealand and in parts of South Africa, and on private properties in the United States, Argentina and Austria. Other introductions in Scotland and Canada have failed. The first Himalayan tahrs were imported to New Zealand in 1904 when three pairs, originally from India, were shipped from Woburn Abbey in England to the New Zealand Tourist Board and released near Mt. Cook. Eight more were imported and released on Mt. Wakefield in 1909. In 1931 and 1937, progeny of these animals were set free near Mt. Cook and in the Sealey Range. The introductions were highly successful, as is evinced by records showing that more than 30,000 tahrs were killed by government cullers between 1937-1984.



KABUL MARKHOR

(Capra falconeri megaceros)


LOCATION: Formerly from the vicinity of Kabul, Afghanistan, eastward to the Indus River south of Saidu, Pakistan, and southward in Pakistan to the Gumal River. Within this area the distribution was highly discontinuous, due partly to the erratic location of suitable cliffs and massifs and partly to local subsistence hunting and competition from domestic livestock. In 1978, it survived in Afghanistan only in the Kabul Gorge and the Kohi Safi area of Kapissa province, and in isolated pockets in between. As of 1987 in Pakistan, it was still found in the Safed Koh range, the areas near Mardan and Sheikh Buddin, and possibly between Pezu and the Gumal River.

DESCRIPTION: The Kabul markhor is larger in horn and body and has a longer neck ruff than most Sulaiman markhors. Its horns are intermediate between those of the Kashmir and Sulaiman races, forming a cline from the moderate flare of the former to the straight, tight twist of the latter. Typically, Kabul horns are straight, with up to three complete spiral turns in an open twist; however, Kashmir-type horns with a degree of flare are occasionally found within its distribution range as well. In colonial times it was customary to measure these horns in a straight line; however, SCI measures them around the curve along the keel that begins at the back of the base.