Capra pyrenaica 

Scope: Global, Europe & Mediterranean
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Capra pyrenaica Schinz, 1838
Common Name(s):
English Iberian Wild Goat, Spanish Ibex, Pyrenean Ibex
French Bouquetin Des Pyrénées
Spanish Cabra Montesa

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Herrero, J. & Pérez, J.M.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is now abundant and its range and population are currently expanding as a result of habitat changes resulting from rural abandonment. Consequently it is assessed as Least Concern. Hunting reservations and protected areas have played a crucial role in species recovery.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species historically occurred throughout the Iberian peninsula, including southwest France, Spain, Andorra, and Portugal (Grubb, 2005). It is, however, extinct in the northern part of its range (including in France and Andorra), and no longer occurs in the Pyrenees. Capra pyrenaica is now endemic to the Iberian peninsula. Of the four described subspecies, only two are extant: C. p. victoriae and C. p. hispanica. C. p. victoriae occurs in the central Spanish mountains (Sierra de Gredos), and has been re-introduced to a number of additional sites in Spain (Batuecas, La Pedriza, Riaño) and northern Portugal (Peneda-Gerês National Park) (Palomo and Gisbert 2002, Cabral et al. 2005, Moço et al. 2006, J. Herrero pers. comm. 2006). C. p. hispanica occupies the arc of mountains that run along the Mediterranean coast, from the Ebro river to the rock of Gibraltar (where it no longer occurs), as well as the Sierra Morena. C. p. lusitanica died out at the end of the 19th century, and C. p. pyrenaica went extinct in 2000 when the last known individual was found dead (Pérez et al. 2002, Cabral et al. 2005, J. M. Pérez pers. comm. 2006). It formerly occurred throughout much of the French, Spanish and Andorran Pyrenees, and persisted until recently in Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park in the Maladeta massif. The species is found from sea level to 3,400 m (Palomo and Gisbert 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Regionally extinct:
Andorra; France (France (mainland)); Gibraltar
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population in the whole of the Iberian peninsula was estimated at c.50,000 individuals in more than 50 subpopulations (Palomo and Gisbert 2002, Pérez et al. 2002). Subpopulations include those of the Sierra Nevada (16,000 individuals), Sierra de Gredos (8,000 individuals), Maestrazgo (7,000 individuals), Serranía de Ronda and Sierras de Grazalema (4,000 individuals), Puertos de Tortosa y Beceite Natural Park (4,000 individuals) Cazorla (2,500 individuals), Sierra Tejeda y Almijara (2,500 individuals), Sierras de Antequera (2,000 individuals), Sierra Morena (2,000 individuals) and Muela de Córtes (1,500 individuals) (Pérez et al. 2002, J. Herrero and J. M. Pérez pers. comm. 2006). Numbers have expanded dramatically since the early 1990s, when the total population was estimated at c.7,900 individuals (Shackleton 1997), and continue to increase. Its range is expanding in Spain and into Portugal (Cabral et al. 2005). In 2003 the Portuguese population consisted of a minimum of 75 individuals. (Moço et al. 2006).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:50000-50000
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in rocky habitats. Even small rocky patches in arable farmland and on the coast may be used, although cliffs and screes interspersed with scrub or pine trees are the most typical habitats. It often lives in very close proximity to humans, and is a familiar and popular species. It disperses readily and can rapidly colonise new areas if appropriate habitat is available. It is an important trophy-hunting species, with some trophy prices exceeding EUR 2,000 (J. Herrero pers. comm. 2006). Hunting can be an important source of revenue to local communities in rural areas. The species can sometimes be an agricultural pest, causing damage to almond trees (J. Herrero pers. comm. 2006).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is hunted legally for sport, and to some extent for food. This is generally considered to be at sustainable levels, although poaching of large males might have an impact of gene flow.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No threats are causing population or range declines at present - indeed the species is expanding. However, alteration and fragmentation of habitats (through agriculture, forestry, fires, and infrastructure development) may impact upon certain Capra pyrenaica populations, and competition with the introduced the aoudad (Ammotragus lervia) might become a conservation problem in the near future (Cabral et al. 2005, J. M. Pérez pers. comm. 2006). The aoudad was introduced during the 1970s in southeastern Spain, and recently an important range expansion of this exotic ungulate has been reported (Cassinello et al. 2004); competition between these two ungulate species can be expected. The impact of hunting (predominantly for trophies) has not been scientifically assessed (J. M. Pérez pers. comm. 2006), but the poaching of large dominant males might alter gene flow (J. Herrero pers. comm. 2006). However, hunting levels are broadly under control. Outbreaks of mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) occur sporadically and have caused at least one major population crash (Shackleton 1997, Palomo and Gisbert 2002). Wild goats are occasionally killed by accident during wild boar hunting-drives with dogs (J. Herrero pers. comm. 2006).

Previously, the population was kept low by competition with domestic livestock, which restricted wild goats to marginal habitats. The causes of C. p. pyrenaica' s demise are unknown, but there are a number of hypotheses including competition for food with chamois, inbreeding depression, parasite infections from domestic livestock, climatic conditions, poaching, and low fertility due to plant secondary compounds (Shackleton 1997). The last remaining individual, a 13-year-old female, was killed by a falling tree.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is protected under Appendix III of the Bern Convention and Annex V of the EU Habitats and Species Directive. It is listed as Critically Endangered in Portugal, owing to its very small population in that country (Cabral et al. 2005). C. p. victoriae occurs in Sierra de Gredos, las Batuecas and Riaño Hunting Reserves and Manzanares Natural Park. C. p. hispanica occurs in a number of protected areas, including Sierra de las Nieves, Sierra de Grazalema, Sierra Nevada, and Sierra de Tajada y Almijara, Puertos de Tortosa y Beceite, and Muela de Cortes. However, most of the range occupied by wild goats is outside protected areas. Conservation measures proposed include establishing additional populations of C. p. victoriae in other areas to strengthen its conservation status by reducing the possibility of an epizootic or some other catastrophe wiping out, or severely depleting, the present small population. When establishing new populations, founder effects should be considered, and sufficient numbers of animals should be introduced to maintain genetic diversity (J. Herrero pers. comm. 2006). Measures should be taken to reduce poaching (Cabral et al. 2005), and the impact of hunting should be scientifically assessed.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.3. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Ammotragus lervia ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.2. Competition

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Alados, C. L. 1985. Distribution and status of the Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica Schinz). In: S. Lovari (ed.), The Biology and Management of Mountain Ungulates, pp. 204-211. Croom-Helm, London, UK.

Cabral, M.J., Almeida, J., Almeida, P.R., Dellinger, T., Ferrand de Almeida, N., Oliveira, M. E., Palmeirim, J.M., Queiroz, A.I., Rogado, L. and Santos-Reis, M. (eds). 2005. Livro Vermelho dos Vertebrados de Portugal. Instituto da Conservação da Natureza, Lisboa.

Cassinello, J., Serrano, E., Calabuig, G. and Pérez, J. M. 2004. Range expansion of an exotic ungulate (Ammotragus lervia) in southern Spain: ecological and conservation concerns. Biodiversity and Conservation 13: 851-866.

Garrido Garcia, J. A. Nogueras Montiel, J. 2003. The mammalian fauna of the Fardes basin (SE Iberian Peninsula): preliminary distribution atlas [La mastozoofauna de la cuenca del Rio Fardes (SE de la Peninsula Iberica): Atlas provisional de distribucion]. Zoologica Baetica 13-14: 9-36.

IUCN. 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Martinez, T. 2002. Summer feeding strategy of Spanish ibex Capra pyrenaica and domestic sheep Ovis aries in south-eastern Spain. Acta Theriologica Sinica 47(4): 479-490.

Moço, G., Guerreiro, M., Ferreira, A. F., Rebelo, A., Loureiro, A., Petrucci-Fonseca, F. and Pérez, J. M. 2006. The ibex Capra pyrenaica returns to its former Portuguese range. Oryx 40(3): 351-354.

Palomo, L.J. and Gisbert, J. 2002. Atlas de los mamíferos terrestres de España. Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza. SECEM-SECEMU, Madrid, Spain.

Pascual, R. 1981. La cabra hispanica en el Parque National de OrdesaXV Congr. Int. de Fauna Cinegetice y Silvestre, Trujillo (Caceres, Spain)..

Perez-Barberia, F. J. and Nores, C. 1994. Seasonal variation in group size of cantabrian chamois in relation to escape terrain and food. Acta Theriologica 39: 295-305.

Perez, J. M., Granados, J. E. and Soriguer, R. C. 1994. Population dymanic of the Spanish ibex Capra pyrenaica in Sierra Nevada Natural park (southern Spain). Acta Theriologica 39: 289-294.

Pérez, J. M., Granados, J. E., Soriguer, R. C., Fandos, P., Márquez, P. and Crampe, J. P. 2002. Distribution, status and conservation problems of the Spanish ibex, Capra pyrenaica (Mammalia: Artiodactyla). Mammal Review 32: 26-39.

Perez, J. M. Meneguz, P. G., Dematteis, A., Rossi, L. and Serrano, E. 2006. Parasites and conservation biology: the 'ibex-ecosystem'. Biodiversity and Conservation 15(6): 2033-2047.

Shackleton, D.M. 1997. Wild Sheep and Goats and Their Relatives: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for Caprinae. IUCN/SSC Caprinae Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Citation: Herrero, J. & Pérez, J.M. 2008. Capra pyrenaica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T3798A10085397. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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