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The Pyrenean Ibex species bucardo in Spanish, herc in Catalan, bouquetin in French was one of the four subspecies of the Iberian ibex or Iberian wild goat. This animal species was native in the Cantabrian mountains, southern France, and the northern Pyrenees. This species was common during the upper Pleistocene and Holocene, during which their morphology, primarily some skulls that found larger than the other Capra subspecies in Southwestern Europe at the same time.
The species declared extinct in the January 2000, however, the scientists are on the mission of bringing back species from extinction. There are many theories related to the evolution and historical migration in the animal species Pyrenean Ibex. One possibility is that the animal species may be evolved from an ancestor related to Capra caucasica from the Middle East, at the beginning of the last glacial period. But scientists are unsure of how much genetic exchange could have occurred.
Pyrenean Ibex Physical Characteristics
The animal species had sort hair which varied according to the seasons. It had the short hair during the summer and the hair grew thicker and longer in winter. The neck had the long hairs through all seasons. Male and female ibex could easily be distinguished by their fur, color, and horn differences. The male was a faded grayish-brown during the summer, and they were decorated with black in several places on the body such as the mane, forehead, and forelegs. The female ibex could be mistaken with a deer since its coat was brown during the winter. Unlike the male ibex, a female doesn’t have black coloring. Young ibex were colored like the female during the beginning years of their life.
The male had thick horns, large, curving outwards, and backward, then downwards and outwards, then upwards and inwards. It is a little bit to understand from the written description while easy to understand after see it. The surface of the horn was ridged, and it continuously developed with the age of ibex. The female had short, cylindrical horn as compared to the males. Ibex fed on vegetation such as herbs and grasses.
Pyrenean Ibex Habitat
The animal species was often seen in the parts of Portugal, France, Spain, and Andorra, but rarely found in northern areas of the Iberian Peninsula. The species was first extinct from the northern tip of Iberian Peninsula. The animal was estimated to have a peak population of 50,000 individuals including more than 50 other subgroups that ranged from Sierra Nevadas to Sierra Morena and Muela de Cortes. Many of these subgroups were mainly from the mountainous terrain from Spain and Portugal.
The last animals from this species were seen in the areas of Middle and Eastern Pyrenees, below 1,200 m altitude. However, Ibex were found from 350-925 m to 1,190-2,240 m in areas of southern France and the surrounding areas. The species tended to live in rocky habitats with cliffs and trees interspersed with scrub or pine trees. The ibex was able to thrive well in its environment as long as the appropriate habitat was available. These formed a useful resource for humans, which may have been a cause of their eventual extinction.
Pyrenean Ibex Size
The animal species were of about 1-5.5 ft from their hooves to withers, the highest part of the shoulders at the base of the neck. They have the weight about 65-265 lbs which are about 30-120 kg. Both males and female had long horns that they used for their territorial defense and sexual selection. The male horns could be reached about 5 ft long.
Diet of Pyrenean Ibex
The species was herbivores and their diet was mostly included vegetation such as shrubs, bushes, and grasses. The animals preferred to grazing the greenery around their habitat or territory. The low nutritional value defined that they spent most of their time in eating.
The species was declared extinct in the January 2000. However, it was not gone forever and with the help of the technology of cloning, the Spanish biologist successfully restored the extinct Pyrenean ibex in 2009 by using a frozen tissue. It is estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 mature individuals.
Interesting facts of Pyrenean Ibex
- They usually found at an elevation of 2300-4500 m but they had seen at the height of 6700 m.
- The species have the lifespan of about 20 years in the wild.
- It has very good climbing skills but avoids deep snow.
- Ibex are very nimble as they can jump more than 6 ft straight up without any run-up.
- They generally travel in small herds of about a dozen ibexes.
- The animal species is strictly herbivorous and their diet consists of grasses, a mixture of moss, flowers, leaves, and twigs. Sometimes they often have seen stand on their rear legs to reach the food.
- Ibex has a variety of predators like bears, eagles, leopards, and humans as well.
Reproduction in Pyrenean Ibex
Ibex males use scent to communicate with the potential mates. These use their beards to spread the scent during the breeding season to excite females. This season is also called rut. The species follow the rituals before mating during the breeding season. The males fight for mating with the females by pushing their heads together. After the ritual, the winner will court the female in a process that can take around 30 minutes. The females will have a gestation period of 147-180 days.
The female gives birth one to three babies at a time. These young are able to join the other kids in the group after four weeks. And in the next two months, a kid is weaned. It remains with its mother for at least a year. The females get the maturity of reproduction at the age of 2-6 years. The animal has the total lifespan about 20 years in the wild.
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