The Alpine ibex, also known as the steinbock or bouquetin, is a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps.
A few hundred years ago, Europeans thought the ibex had magical powers. It does look a little like a unicorn with its long curving horns, but this animal is no myth. Ibex live in southern Europe and northern Africa. These magnificent animals look a bit like deer, but they’re actually a type of mountain goat.
Although the Alpine ibex is a social species, they segregate sexually and spatially depending on the season. Four types of groups exist. Adult male groups, female-offspring groups, groups of young individuals 2–3 years old, and mixed sex groups during breeding season only. In fall, the males fight each other to win the chance to mate with females. They run and crash against each other with their horns.
After being extirpated from most areas by the 19th century, the Alpine ibex was successfully reintroduced and is no longer in danger.
The Ibex is an excellent climber, its preferred habitat is the rocky region along the snow line above alpine forests, where it occupies steep, rough terrain at elevations of 1,800 to 3,300 metres.
In the wild, these animals live only 10 to 18 years and die typically of age, starvation or by humans hunting them.
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