Le Bouquetin des Pyrénées, appelé parfois Bouquetin ibérique, a une allure générale de chèvre mais est beaucoup plus massif. La tête porte des cornes finement annelées, incurvés vers l’arrière et dont les extrémités sont dirigées vers le haut et l’extérieur. Les bourrelets sont peu marqués. Elles peuvent mesurer jusqu’à 75 cm chez le mâle (=bouc) et sont plus petites chez la femelle (=chèvre) (15-20 cm). Elles croissent durant toute la vie de l’individu mais surtout avant 7 ans. Ses pattes portent chacune deux doigts, formant un sabot, et un ergot (=reliquat des doigts rudimentaires latéraux). Sa queue est courte et tombante. Son pelage dorsal varie de brun-roux à gris-clair sur le haut des flancs. Il devient sombre jusqu’à noir sur l’échine, le bas des flancs, les pattes, le poitrail et le front chez le bouc. Il est à dominante marron chez la femelle. Le mâle porte une petite barbe drue sous le menton. Il compte 32 dents : I0/3, C0/0, P3/3, M3/3.
Le Bouquetin des Pyrénées est devenu nocturne, ne sortant que tard le soir pour pâturer et ne s’attardant pas le matin. Dès le lever du soleil, il cherche un abri et y passe la journée.
Il vit en harde avec d’une part les mâles adultes, de l’autre les femelles et leurs petits de l’année ainsi que les sujets âgés de trois ans au plus. Durant le rut, les mâles se livrent à de furieux combats. Polygame, le Bouquetin des Pyrénées atteint sa maturité sexuelle vers 2 ans. L’accouplement a lieu entre novembre et janvier. La gestation dure 155 jours et la femelle met bas entre avril et juin d’un jeune, parfois deux. La mise-bas s’effectue de préférence dans un endroit inaccessible aux prédateurs. Les chevreaux sont sevré vers 2-3 mois et peuvent vivre jusqu’à 20 ans. Herbivore, le Bouquetin des Pyrénées se nourrit de nombreuses espèces végétales, consommant de préférence des graminées à la belle saison et des ligneux en automne et en hiver.
Les différentes formes de Bouquetins des Pyrénées vivent dans des biotopes complétement différents. Dans les Pyrénées, il vit en haute montagne et, pendant la belle saison, il se retrouve entre 1800 et 2800 mètres d’altitude. La présence de rocher constitue une des constantes écologiques. En effet, rupicole, le Bouquetin des Pyrénées est inféodé au milieu rupestre. Il recherche des habitats spacieux comportant des zones de refuge. La taille du domaine vital varie entre 25 et 320 ha selon la saison. Il est plus étendu au printemps et en été.
ANONYME. 2012. Plan de restauration du Bouquetin (Capra pyrenaica) dans les Pyrénées françaises. 2012-2020. 40p.
COUTURIER M. 1962. Le Bouquetin des Alpes Capra aegargrus ibex ibex L. Partie 1. Histoire naturelle. Grenoble. 948p.
Spanish ibex are generally brownish to grayish in color. They measure about 65-75cm tall at the shoulder, are 100-140 cm long, and weigh 35-80 kg. Tail lenghth is 10-15 cm. Males are larger than females. Both sexes have horns. The horns of males are much larger and better developed than those of females. Horns of the males reach 75 cm or more in length and curve back over their heads. (Grzimek, 1990)
Range mass: 35 to 80 kg.
Range length: 100 to 140 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Habitat and Ecology
Spanish ibex live in mountainous terrain generally above 800m. They prefer forested areas with rock outcroppings, coniferous trees, and deciduous trees (including Holm oaks). Forests with multiple strata in the canopy are preferred. The lower canopy strata provide shade cover to escape heat during mid-day. (Escos, 1992)
Range elevation: 800 (low) m.
Habitat Regions: temperate
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; mountains
Spanish ibex feed primarily by browsing. Their main forage is Holm oak (Quercus ilex). They browse these oaks as well as feed on the acorns. They also feed on forbs (5% of diet) and grasses (10% of diet). Forage of forbs and grasses is selected more in spring and early summer. (Garcia-Gonzales, 1992; Martinez, 1988)
Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Granivore )
Because of its feeding behavior, C. pyrenaica influences succession of plants in its habitat. It also is a primary consumer, converting the energy stored in plants to a form which is then available to its predators.
Ecosystem Impact: creates habitat
Adult Spanish ibex have no natural predators except humans. The young are susceptible to predation by eagles and foxes. When danger is detected, usually by sight or smell, an alarm whistle is given and the herd flees in columns led by an adult male or female. (Grzimek, 1990)
Life History and Behavior
Spanish ibex can live 12-16 years in the wild. (Grzimek, 1990)
Status: wild: 12 to 16 years.
Status: wild: 16.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Males compete to mate with females by head butting.
Mating System: polygynous
Breeding occurs from November through December, peaking in the first half of December. Females in estrus signal to males that they are ready to mate by producing certain pheromones. during the rut, males battle with each other for the right to mate by butting heads. The gestation period of C. pyrenaica is 161-168 days. The peak birthing period is in mid-May. Females breed every year and typically have 1-2 young per year. Females often find a remote, inaccessible location with thick brush for birthing. After giving birth, females and young congregate in groups. Males are full grown and reach sexual maturity at age three. Females are full grown and reach sexual maturity at age 1.5. (Alvarez, 1990; Alados, 1988; Grizmek, 1990)
Breeding season: mating occurs from November through December, and females typically gice birth in mid-May.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Range gestation period: 5.37 to 5.6 months.
Average gestation period: 5.485 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1.5 to 3 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1.5 to 3 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous
Average number of offspring: 1.5.
Females care for the precocial young (Nowak, 1990)
Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care ; post-independence association with parents
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Capra pyrenaica
No available public DNA sequences.
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Capra pyrenaica
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Conservation efforts are being focused on habitat preservation and restoration and looking at competition with introduced species such red deer, like those introduced into Carzorla-Segura park. (Grzimek, 1990)
US Federal List: endangered
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
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.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Spanish ibex potentially compete with grazing livestock. (Gortazac, 2000)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Spanish ibex are prized as trophy game animals. The flesh is considered a delicacy. They are important for tourism, bringing many people to the parks on the Iberian Peninsula. (Grzimek, 1990)
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material; ecotourism
The Iberian ibex, Spanish ibex, Spanish wild goat, or Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica) is a species of ibex with four subspecies. Of these, two can still be found on the Iberian Peninsula, but the remaining two are now extinct. The Portuguese subspecies became extinct in 1892 and the Pyrenean subspecies became extinct in 2000. An ongoing project to clone to the Pyrenean subspecies resulted in one clone being born alive in January 2009. This is the first taxon to become "un-extinct", although the clone died a few minutes after birth due to physical defects in lungs.
The Iberian ibex Capra pyrenaica populates the Iberian Peninsula and consisted originally of four subspecies. However with recent extinctions occurring within the last century, only two of the subspecies still exist. These two subspecies of ibexes, the Capra pyrenaica hispanica and the Capra pyrenaica victoriae, can be found along the Spanish Iberian Peninsula and have even migrated and settled into the coast of Portugal.
Capra pyrenaica are strong mountainous animals characterized by their large and ﬂexible hooves and short legs. These physical adaptations allow them to be able to run and leap on bare, rocky, rough, and steep slopes. This gives them an advantage over potential predators that possibly cannot reach them because of the terrain. The Iberian ibex also shows remarkable sexual dimorphism, with males being greater in size and weight and also having larger horns as the females. The horns of the ibexes are different among wild caprids as they curve out and up and then back, inward, and, depending on subspecies, either up again or down. The annual horn growth is inﬂuenced principally by age but can also be contributed by environmental factors and the growth made in the previous year. Even though the female ibexes are smaller, they have a faster ossification process and typically finish full bone development nearly two years before males.
Iberian ibex establish two types of social groups: male-only groups and females with young juvenile groups. It is during rutting season (November/December) that the males interact with the females in order to reproduce. Allocation to testes mass was greatest in the rutting season, particularly at ages that are associated with a subordinate status and a coursing, rather than mate-guarding, reproductive strategy. Mixed groups are also common during the rest of the winter. During the birth season, the yearling are separated from the female groups at the time of the new births. The males are the first to separate and return to their male-only groups while the yearlings eventually return to their mothers and spend their next few years with the group.
The Spanish ibex has a unique way of signaling others when a potential predator has been spotted. First the ibex will have an erect posture with its ears and head pointing in the direction of the potential predator. The caller will then signal the other ibexes in the group with one or more alarm calls. Once the group has heard the alarm calls, they will flee to another area that is usually an advantageous vantage point like a rocky slope where the predator cannot reach. Interestingly, the ibex usually flees in a very coordinated fashion that is led by an experienced adult female in female-juvenile groups and an experienced male in male-only groups. This possibly allows the group to escape in a more efficient way as the more experienced ibex will know which slope to run to. However since their alarm calls consists of an abrupt explosive whistle, it can easily be heard by predators and quickly be located even from farther distances.
The Iberian ibex is generally a mixed feeder between a browser and a grazer, depending on the plant availability in their home range. Thus, the percentage of each type of resource that is consumed will vary altitudinally, geographically, and seasonally. The ibex also has a special mechanism in the kidney that stores fat in order to be used as energy during the cold winter times. The highest body storage of kidney fat can be found during the productive warm seasons and the lowest during the cold period. The body storage is characterized by limited the food resources. Foraging in ibexes is also different depending on the season. When food resources are low during the winter, ibexes would reduce their rates of movement when foraging. However during the spring season, when food is more available, they would increase their rate of movement and become more mobile in finding food. This would be the ideal trend of movement since the spring season is more abundant in food resources meaning that there is more competition for food resources forcing some to trek farther in order to obtain food.
The populations of Capra pyrenaica have decreased significantly over the last centuries. This can be due to a combination of contributing factors such as great hunting pressure, agricultural development and habitat deterioration. Around 1890, one of the subspecies, C. pyrenaica lusitanica, also known as the Portuguese ibex, became extinct from its range in the Portuguese Sierra de Geres and Galicia. By the mid-nineteenth century, another of the four subspecies, the Pyrenean ibex, came from the French Pyrenees and the Pyrenean subspecies became extinct in January 2000, when the last adult female died in the Ordesa National Park. There are also a series of threats in an effort towards ibex conservation; such as population overabundance, disease, and potential competition with domestic livestock and other ungulates, along with the negative effects of human disturbance through tourism and hunting. Until recently, ibexes from Southern Spain have also become exposed to diseases and outbreaks like sarcoptic mange. This disease, potentially fatal for infected individuals, unequally affects males and females and it limits the reproductive investment of individuals. Scabies has become the main destabilizing factor in many populations of Iberian ibex.
- Western Spanish Ibex or Gredos Ibex - Capra pyrenaica victoriae Cabrera, 1911
- Southeastern Spanish Ibex or Beceite Ibex - Capra pyrenaica hispanica Schimper, 1848
- Portuguese Ibex - Capra pyrenaica lusitanica Schlegel, 1872 (extinct)
- Pyrenean Ibex - Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica Schinz, 1838 (extinct)
- Pérez, J. M., et al. (2002). "Distribution, status and conservation problems of the Spanish Ibex, Capra pyrenaica (Mammalia: Artiodactyla)". Mammal Review 32 (1): 26–39. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2907.2002.00097.x.
- Sarasa, M., et al. (2012). "Common names of species, the curious case of Capra pyrenaica and the concomitant steps towards the 'wild-to-domestic' transformation of a flagship species and its vernacular names". Biodiversity and Conservation 21 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1007/s10531-011-0172-3.
- Folch, J., Cocero, M. J., Chesne, P., Alabart, J. L., Dominguez, V., Cognie, Y., Roche, A., Fernandez-Arias, A., Marti, J. I., Sanchez, P., Echegoyen, E., Beckers, J. F., Bonastre, A. S. & Vignon, X. (2009) First birth of an animal from an extinct subspecies (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) by cloning. Theriogenology, 71, 1026-1034.
- Acevedo, P. (2009). "Biology, ecology, and status of Iberian ibex Capra pyrenaica: a critical review and research prospectus". Mammal Review 39 (1 pages = 17-32). doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.2008.00138.x.
- Sarasa, M., Serrano, E., Pérez, J. M., Soriguer, R. C., Gonzalez, G., Joachim, J., Fandos, P. & Granados, J. E. (2010) Effects of season, age, and body condition on allocation to testes mass in Iberian ibex. Journal of Zoology, 281, 125-131.
- Fandos, P. (1991) La cabra montés (Capra pyrenaica) en el Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla Segura y las Villas, ICONA-CSIC, Madrid.
- Alados, C.L. and Escos J. "Alarm calls and flight behaviour in Spanish ibex (Capra pyrencaica)". Biology of Behavior vol.13 (1988): 11-21.
- Serrano, Emmanuel, et al. "The Effects of Winter Severity and Population Density on Body Stores in the Iberian Wild Goat (Capra pyrenaica) in a Highly Seasonal Mountain Environment." European Journal of Wildlife Research 57.1 (2011): 51.
- Escos J. and C.L. Alados. "Relationships between movement rate, agnostic displacements and forage availability in Spanish ibexes (Capra pyrenaica)". Behavior of Biology Vol. 12(1987): 245-255.
- Sarasa, M., Rambozzi, L., Rossi, L., Meneguz, P. G., Serrano, E., Granados, J. E., González, F. J., Fandos, P., Soriguer, R. C., Gonzalez, G., Joachim, J. & Pérez, J. M. (2010) Sarcoptes scabiei: Specific immune response to sarcoptic mange in the Iberian ibex Capra pyrenaica depends on previous exposure and sex. Experimental Parasitology, 124, 265-271.
- Sarasa, M., Serrano, E., Soriguer, R. C., Granados, J.-E., Fandos, P., Gonzalez, G., Joachim, J. & Pérez, J. M. (2011) Negative effect of the arthropod parasite, Sarcoptes scabiei, on testes mass in Iberian ibex, Capra pyrenaica. Veterinary Parasitology, 175, 306-312.
San Diego Zoo's Spanish ibex
Keepers at the San Diego Zoo use a large wooden log to stimulate the ibex's charging instinct
Free group at La Najarra (Spain)
The Portuguese ibex Capra pyrenaica lusitanica (an extinct subspecies of Spanish ibex) was a subspecies of mountain goat that inhabited the north mountainous zones of Portugal, Galicia, Asturias and western Cantabria. In size and colouration it was much like the Spanish animals, though inclining towards brown rather than black markings. Its horns were strikingly different from any of the other Iberian subspecies. They were only half the length of the Pyrenean ibex (about 51 cm or 20"), but were almost twice as wide, and, consequently, much closer together at their base.
Until 1800, the Portuguese ibex was widespread in its range, but thereafter its decline was rapid as hunting pressure increased. Local hunters did not respect the closed hunting seasons and shot Portuguese ibexes when the herds came down to lower altitudes in May. Local people hunted it for its meat and for the bezoar stones in its stomach which were regarded as potent medicine and antidotes for poisons of all kind. The skins were used as coverlets and the horns both as ornaments and as trumpets of alpine horns to call across the narrow valleys of the north-western mountains.
By 1870, this ibex was a rare animal. The last herd of about a dozen animals was recorded in 1886. An old female was captured alive in September 1889, but only survived for three days. Two more females were found dead next year, victims of a Galician avalanche. The last known Portuguese ibex in Spain died in 1890, and the last known sighting was a female near Lombade Pan in the Serra do Gerês in Portugal in 1892.
Some scientists have pointed to factors other than human interference that may have affected the decline of the Portuguese ibex. Grey wolves and golden eagles, disease from domestic herds and a disproportionate number of males may have contributed to the rapid population decline. But the last point can be debated, since the bucks were a more likely target for hunters and the last recorded sightings were all of females.
Another subspecies, the Gredos ibex Capra pyrenaica victoriae Cabrera, 1911, was introduced in territory formerly occupied by the Portuguese ibex for hunting purposes, such as in Riaño, Province of León; isolated populations of Spanish ibex also exist in Galicia and El Bierzo. Around 2001 ibexes resident in the Parque Natural Baixa Limia-Serra do Xurés in the Galician-Portuguese frontier crossed the border and established themselves in the nearby Portuguese Peneda-Gerês National Park, thus colonizing what had been the last spot inhabited by the Portuguese ibex. Ten years later, the new Portuguese population had increased to about 100 animals.
A Portuguese ibex specimen was on display in the Museo Bocage in Lisbon until a fire destroyed it in 1978.
- Mueller, Tom (2011) Un frágil equilibrio. Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês. National Geographic España, 21(1), pg.61
- Mueller, Tom (2011) Un frágil equilibrio. Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês. National Geographic España, 21(1), pg.61
- Choffat, P. 1920. Le Bouquetin du Gerez et le Bouquetin de Monte Junto. Bulletin de la Société Portugaise des Sciences Naturelles, Lisbonne, VIII (2) : 151-156. Cabra do Gerês. Capra lusitanica. Geologia. Paleontologia. Ossos de Capra hispanica, não de C. lusitanica.
- Day, D., 1981, The Doomsday Book of Animals, Ebury Press, London.
- França, C. 1908. Descrição da nova espécie, Capra lusitanica França, 1908, in: Le Professeur Barbosa du Bocage - 1823-1907. Bulletin de la Société Portugaise de Sciences Naturelles, II (1-2), pág. 144.
- França, C. 1917. Le bouquetin du Gerez : Capra Lusitanica ; notes sur une espèce éteinte / Carlos França IN: Arquivos da Universidade de Lisboa: Lisboa, vol. 4, 1917, p. 19-53. Fauna - Serra do Gerez (Portugal) / Cabra Lusitana .
- Maas, P. 2005. Portuguese Ibex - Capra pyrenaica lusitanica. The Extinction Website.