Siberian Ibex, Capra sibirica
The Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), also known as the common ibex, can be found in northern, central, and Southern Asia. Its range includes Afghanistan, northwestern India, Mongolia, and Pakistan, among other areas. It prefers a habitat within alpine meadows and mountainous areas, but will also reside in foothills, deserts, or rocky bluffs. It has been considered a subspecies of the Alpine ibex, although it is not known whether this is a valid classification.
The Siberian ibex can vary in body length reaching an average between 26 and 43 inches, with a weight between 77 to 290 pounds. Typically, both males and females are tan in color with a lighter underbelly, but in the winter, males become darker in color. Males and females have both horns and beards, although these are more developed in males. The ridged horns of a male can reach an average length of 51 inches. It has previously been considered the only species within its genus, but studies have shown that it may have four subspecies.
Although it resides at high elevation, the Siberian ibex will travel to lower areas within its habitat during the winter in order to find better food sources. During hot weather, this species will seek shade under tree lines but will never enter forests, instead returning to higher elevations when it cools down. It feeds mainly on herbs and alpine grasses.
Female Siberian ibexes will have a pregnancy period lasting between five and six months, after which one to three kids are born. These young reach sexual maturity at 1.5 or 2 years. This species will live between sixteen to seventeen years. Common predators include brown bears, wolves, and snow leopards. Lynxes, eagles, and foxes will sometimes capture young ibexes. The Siberian ibex appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern”.
Image Caption: Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica). Credit: Quinet/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)