Ibex are wild goats that live in the mountainous regions of Europe, north central Asia and northern Africa. There are five species of ibex. They have long, curved horns and cloven hooves. Males have long beards.
- They grow between 1 and 5.5 feet (30 and 170 cm) and they weigh between 65 and 265 lbs (30 and 120kg).
- Male and female ibex have long horns, reaching up to 5 ft (1.5 mts), in length, which are used for territorial defense and sexual selection.
- They can jump more than 6 feet (1.8 meters)
- They’re herbivores, which means that their diet is primarily plant based.
- They are social and live in groups called herds, which are segregated by gender, so the males have a herd and the females and offspring another.
- Nubian ibex have shiny coats that reflect sunlight and keep them cool.
- The gestation period last between 147 and 180 days, giving birht to 1-3 offspring.
- An average wild ibex lives for 17 years.
Humans have hunted the ibex for thousands of years. They were used to provide people with meat for food and hide for clothing. Nowadays, they are killed merely for sport.
- The Pyrenean ibex was declared extinct in 2000, however, in 2009, Spanish biologists used frozen tissue to clone a Pyrenean ibex. The clone lived for 7 minutes, but scientists are hopeful that this cloned ibex will help in the successful cloning of other extinct animals.
- Two are facing extinction right now: the Nubian ibex is considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because its numbers are decreasing; it is estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. According to the IUCN, the Walia ibex is endangered, with only about 500 of their kind left.
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