Capra ibex

Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_onStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA BOVIDAE

Scientific Name: Capra ibex
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name(s):
English Alpine Ibex, Ibex
French Bouquetin Des Alpes, BOUQUETIN DES ALPES
Spanish Íbice De Los Alpes, ÍBICE DE LOS ALPES

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Aulagnier, S., Kranz, A., Lovari, S., Jdeidi, T., Masseti, M., Nader, I., de Smet, K. & Cuzin, F.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is not declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. The species needs conservation action to prevent future decline.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Alpine ibex is endemic to Europe, where its native range is the Alps of France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and northern Italy (Shackleton 1997; Grubb, 2005). It has been introduced to Slovenia and Bulgaria (Pedrotti and Lovari 1999). The ibex was driven very close to extinction in the early 19th century, and with the exception of the population in the Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy), all current populations originate from re-introductions or introductions. Although the range of the ibex has increased over the last century as a result of translocations and natural colonisation, its distribution is still rather patchy in the Alps. It occurs from 500 to 3,000 m (Pedrotti and Lovari 1999).

In Austria, all current populations originate from re-introductions, although not always into former or even suitable habitat. The first colony was re-established in 1924 in the Bluhnbach valley (Hagen mountains), and the second in 1936, farther east in Wildalpen, so that by 1988, ca. 740 ibex had been released (Bauer, 1991). By the 1990s, the species is now found in the Bhihnbach valley (Hagen mountains), in the Northern Limestone alps in Wildalpen, and in the Pitz and Kauner valleys of Tyrol, and in the Styria (Hochlantsch massif). In France, it is found mainly in the eastern part of the Alps. Four ibex populations had been re-established in Germany by the 1990s. The first introduction was made at Koenigsee (Berchtesgaden) in 1936 with 24 animals. The founding animals came from the Aosta valley (Italy), from Peter and Paul, and from the Berlin and Munich Zoological Gardens. The animals dispersed after a few years to the Austrian Bluebachtal. In 1951, the population was reduced considerably after an outbreak of sarcoptic mange, but since then numbers have increased slowly. The population straddles the German-Austrian border, wintering in Austria and summering in the Bavarian Alps in Germany. A second population was established at Jachenau, partly the result of immigration of one male from the Austrian colony at Baechental, supplemented by four animals from Swiss founder populations in 1967. After the addition of several more ibex, this population increased to about 100 animals by the 1990s; however, its range is very restricted and there is little potential for expansion. A small colony in Oberaudorf was the result of a re-introduction in 1963 which failed to disperse. It is now restricted to an area of about 100 ha, and foresters consider it a problem because of range over-use. Another small, restricted population became established through natural dispersal from Austria, but its size is unknown. Ibex were introduced into the Rila mountains of Bulgaria (Atlas of the Mammals of Bulgaria) in the mid-1980s. In Italy, re-introductions, combined with some spontaneous migration from adjoining countries (Peracino and Bassano, 1986; Tosi et al., 1986a), have increased areas with ibex, but its distribution is still rather discontinuous in the Alps.
Countries:
Native:
Italy
Reintroduced:
Austria; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Switzerland
Introduced:
Bulgaria; Slovenia
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: After centuries of decline caused primarily by intensive hunting, at the beginning of the 19th century at most a few hundred Alpine ibex survived in the Gran Paradiso massif (Valle d’Aosta region, Italy). Current ibex populations in the Alps are generally restricted to mountain areas above the tree line and are the result of both translocations from the original core of c.100 individuals and natural colonisation (Dupré et al. 2001). These efforts, together with spontaneous migration from adjoining countries, have increased the population and the number of areas inhabited by ibex, although the distribution is still discontinuous (Stüwe and Nievergelt 1991, S. Lovari pers. comm. 2006). In the 1990s it was estimated that c.30,000 ibex lived in the Alps (Pedrotti and Lovari 1999). Populations grew steadily from the 1960s to the 1990s, showing a mean annual growth rate between 3% and 6% (Dupré et al. 2001). About 15,000 ibex were estimated in Switzerland, 9,700 in Italy, 3,200 in Austria, 3,300 in France, 250 in Slovenia and, and 220 in Germany (Shackleton 1997).
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Alpine ibex typically inhabit open, rocky habitats at high altitude, above the tree line. Steep, south-facing slops with rugged topography and grassy vegetation are preferred. Below the tree line, at subalpine levels, ibex are only found in open, sunny woodland interspersed with rocky outcrops (Nievergelt and Zingg 1986, Pedrotti and Lovari 1999). Ibex feed on alpine grasses, herbaceous plants and shrubs (Pedrotti and Lovari 1999). This species is diurnal, but most active during the early morning and late afternoon. Living in montane pastures, they eat grasses and some woody plants. They migrate seasonally to different altitudes, spending the harsher winter months at medium elevations. The animals occur in maternal herds of 10-20 members, while males roam solitarily or in bachelor groups. Females gestate for about 170 days, and usually carry one kid per pregnancy. Females are sexually mature by 18 months, and males are mature at 2 years. The species lifespan is typically 10-14 years.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted for sport and food. Legal hunting is well-managed and is not considered to be a threat to the species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although the species is not considered threatened at present, there is concern regarding genetic diversity, the founder effect and minimum viable populations (Shackleton 1997, Maudet et al. 2002). Genetic variability in ibex populations is among the lowest reported from microsatellites in mammal species, and the Alpi Marittime–Mercantour population in particular has suffered from a severe genetic bottleneck associated with its reintroduction (Maudet et al. 2002). The ibex's distribution remains fragmented and many colonies are small and thus vulnerable to epizootics and stochastic events as well as inbreeding depression. Colonies with >60 individuals are believed to be viable as long as diseases (most importantly mange) do not affect them (Shackleton 1997, EMA Workshop 2006). Hybridization can be a threat where populations are small and sympatric with high densities of domestic goats, as is the case in Italy (Randi et al. 1990, Pedrotti and Lovari 1999). High densities of domestic goats and sheep may also have a negative impact on the ibex through parasite and disease transmission and resource competition (Shackleton 1997, J. Herrero pers. comm. 2006). Appropriate habitat for the species may be decreasing, as the abandonment of traditional agriculture means that high-altitude alpine meadows are reverting to forest through natural succession (EMA Workshop 2006). Human disturbance as a result of increased tourism and recreation is suspected to be a general threat to mountain ungulates (Shackleton 1997). Alpine ibex are legally hunted in some areas (e.g. Bulgaria, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia), although hunting is completely prohibited in several range states (Shackleton 1997). Legal hunting is not considered a threat if it is properly planned and regulated, but poaching is a potential threat (Dupré et al. 2001).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Alpine ibex is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention and Annex V of the EU Habitats and Species Directive, and is protected under national legislation in most range states. It occurs in a number of protected areas (e.g. Hohe Tauern and Kalkhochalpen National Parks, Austria; Vanoise, Ecrins, and Mercantour National Parks, France; Gran Paradiso and Stelvio National Parks and Maritime Alps Natural Park, Italy), and it has been the subject of intensive conservation management in the form of reintroductions and introductions (Shackleton 1997). Reintroductions began at the end of the 19th century in the Swiss Alps, while in Italy they have been significant only since the 1970s (Dupré et al. 2001).

According to Shackleton (1997) and Dupré et al. (2001), the main proposal for ibex conservation is to continue restocking populations in appropriate habitats. Reintroductions should also be carefully planned, e.g. by (1) Using environmental evaluation models for selecting areas for reintroducing ibex, in conjunction with (2) a conservation strategy that aims to make the separate colonies part of a single metapopulation; (3) Giving priority to protected areas, or to other areas capable of guaranteeing efficient surveillance against poaching and disturbance (although this does not mean that controlled hunting areas should be a priori excluded); (4) Selecting founder individuals for new colonies according to specific criteria; (5) Limiting domestic sheep and goat grazing in reintroduction areas to decrease the possibility of parasite and disease transmission, resource competition, and hybridization; and (6) Screeing reintroduction sites for suitability in relation to health and disease transmission.

Other conservation recommendations include ensuring that any harvest is sustainable (through research, legislation, and international cooperation), reducing poaching (through legislation, enforcement, education and communication), reducing the impacts of human disturbance (e.g. by providing refugia in areas with intense tourism), and monitoring all populations.

Bibliography [top]

Abderhalden, W. 2005. Spatial behaviour and sexual segregation in the alpine ibex Capra ibex ibex. Nationalpark-Forschung in der Schweiz 92: 1-184.

Apollonio, M. and Grimod, I. 1984. Indagine preliminare sulla capacita faunistica della Valle d’Aosta per quattro specie di Ungulati. Regione Autonoma Valle d'Aosta: 1-64.

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Balbo, T., Costantini, R., Lanfranchi, P. and Gallo, M. G. 1978. Raffronto comparative della diffusione dei nematodi gastro-intestinali nei ruminanti domestici (Ovis aries e Capra hircus) e nei ruminanti selvatici (Capra ibex e Rupicapra rupicapra) delle Alpi Occidentali. Parassitologia 20: 13-37.

Bauer, J. J. 1991. Gemsen und Steppenheide im Oberen Donautal- Verbreitungs - und Interaktionsokolgie eines Herbovoren und seiner Nahrungspflanzen ausserhalb beider Verreitungsoptimas. Final rept., Min. Rural Areas, Agric. & For. Stuttgart.

Bauer, K. 1992. Steinwild in Osterreich.

Dupré, E., Pedrotti, L. and Arduino, S. 2001. The Alpine ibex in the Italian Alps: status, potential distribution and management options for conservation and sustainable development. Available at: http://biocenosi.dipbsf.uninsubria.it/LHI/.

Durio, P., Peracino, V., Pasquino, E., Pezzone, A., Porporato, P. and Bassano, A. 1988. Dinamica di popolazione di Ungulati in contesti territoriali soggetti a tutelaintegrale. Lo Stambecco (Capra ibex ibex L.) nel Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso.

Genchi, C., Bossi, A. and Manfredim, M. T. 1985. Gastrointestinal nematode infections in wild ruminants Rupicapra rupicapra and Dama dama: influence of density and cohabitation with domestic ruminants. Parassitologia 27: 211-223.

Giacometti, M. 1991. Beitrag yur Ansiedelungsdynamik und aktuellen Verbreitung des Alpensteinbockes (Capra i. ibex L.) im Alpenraum. 7. Jagdwiss 37: 157-173.

Haller, R. 2006. Spatial distribution of ungulates in the Swiss National Park - evaluation of survey and analysis methods and comparison with census results. Die raeumliche Verteilung der Huftiere im Schweizerischen National park - Evaluation der Aufnahme- und Analysemethoden und Vergleich mit den Bestandserhebungen. Nationalpark-Forschung in der Schweiz 93: 45-78.

Huffman, B. 2007. Capra ibex. Available at: http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Capra_ibex.html. (Accessed: 03 January).

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Maudet, C., Miller, C., Bassano, B., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Gauthier, D., Obexer-Ruff, G., Michallet, J., Taberlet, P. and Luikart, G. 2002. Microsatellite DNA and recent statistical methods in wildlife conservation management: applications in Alpine ibex [Capra ibex (ibex)]. Molecular Ecology 11(3): 421-436.

Meneguz, P. G., Rossi, L., De Meneghi, D., Lanfranchi, P., Peracino, V. and Balbo, T. 1986. A solar radiation model for Ibex relocation programs. Proceedings of the Biennial Symposium of Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council 5: 423-435.

Nascetti, G., Lanfranchi, P., Ratti, P., Peracino, V., Mattiucci, S., Meneguz, P. G., Rossi, L. and Bullini, L. 1990. Studi elettroforetici sulla variabilita e divergenza genetica di Capra ibex ibex e Capra aegagrus hircus delle Alpi. Lo Stambecco delle Alpi: realtd attuale eprospettive, Valdieri. Conservation International.

Nievergelt, B. 1966. Der Alpensteinbock in seinem Lebensraum. Mammalia Depicta, pp. 1-85. Verlag Paul Parey, Hamburg and Berlin.

Nievergelt, B. and Zingg, R. 1986. Capra ibex Linnaeus, 1758 - Steinbock. In: J. Niethammer and F. Krapp (eds), Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, Band 2/II Paarhufer, Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden.

Onderscheka, K., Steineck, T. and Tataruch, F. 1988. Der klinische Verlauf der Gamsraude. C. I. C. GamswiZd Symposium: 331-349. Ljubljana, Yugoslavia..

Pedrotti, L. and Lovari, S. 1999. Capra ibex. In: A. J. Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Kryštufek, P.J.H. Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, J.B.M. Thissen, V. Vohralík, and J. Zima (eds), The Atlas of European Mammals, Academic Press, London, UK.

Peracino, V. and Bassano, B. 1986. Relazione sullo stato delle colonie di Stambecco (Capra ibex ibex L.) sull’arco alpino italiano, create con l’immissione di animali provenienti dall’Ente Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso. CoZZ. SC. P. N. G. P.

Peracino, V. and Bassano, B. 1990. Andamenti della popolazione di stambecco (Capra ibex ibex) nel Parco Nazionale de1 Gran Paradiso: anni 1986-1989. A tti 3rd Inc. Int. Gruppo Stambecco Europa.

Randi, E., Fusco, G., Lorenzini, R., Toso, S. and Tosi, G. 1991. Allozyme divergence and phylogenetic relationships among Capra, Ovis and Rupicapra (Artyodactyla, Bovidae). Heredity 67: 281-286.

Randi, E., Tosi, G., Toso, S., Lorenzini, R. and Fusco, G. 1990. Genetic variability and conservation problems in Alpine ibex, domestic and feral goat populations (genus Capra). Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 55: 413-420.

Shackleton, D.M. 1997. Wild Sheep and Goats and Their Relatives: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for Caprinae. In: D. M. Shackleton (ed.), 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.

Stüwe, M. and Nievergelt, B. 1991. Recovery of Alpine ibex from near extinction: the result of effective protection, captive breeding, and reintroductions. Applied Animal Behavioral Science 29: 379-383.

Stuwe, M. and Scribner, K. T. 1989. Low geneticvariability in introduced Alpine ibex populations. Journal of Mammalogy 60: 370-373.

Tosi, G. and Perco, F. 1981. Stambecco Capra ibex Linnaeus, 1758. Distribuzione e biologia di22 specie di Mammlferi in Italia: 169-174.

Tosi, G., Scherini, G., Apollonio, M., Ferrario, G., Pacchetti, G., Toso, S. and Guidali, F. 1986. Modello di valutazione ambientale per la reintroduzione dello Stambecco (Capra ibex ibex Linnaeus, 1758). Ric. Biol. Selvaggina 77: l-77.

Tosi, G., Toso, S. and Randi, E. 1991. Demografia e variabilita genetica in alcune colonie di Stambecco (Capra ibex ibex) e indicazioni per programmi di conservazione. Atti Conv. Genetica e conservazione della fauna, Bologna, 1990 Ric. Biol. Selvaggina 18: 109-122.

Zingg, R. 1990. Alpine ibex (Capra ibex ibex). In: S. P. Parker (ed.), Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, pp. 516-523. McGraw-Hill, New York, USA.


Citation: Aulagnier, S., Kranz, A., Lovari, S., Jdeidi, T., Masseti, M., Nader, I., de Smet, K. & Cuzin, F. 2008. Capra ibex. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 August 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided