Scientific Name: Capra nubiana
The uniquely shaped ankle bone (astragalus) and suction-like hoofs allow this graceful ibex to climb rocky cliffs with ease.
The Nubian ibex is a relatively small, mountain-dwelling goat. There is a bit of confusion over its specific classification, with some identifying it as a subspecies of the Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex nubiana) while others consider it a distinct species (Capra nubiana).
STATUS: Vulnerable. The Nubian ibex has been indiscriminately hunted. Poaching, habitat encroachment, and loss of water sources have caused it to be locally extinct in Syria and Lebanon. Even now the horns are placed on the corner of houses to ward off evil spirits.
HABITAT: Nubian ibex can be found from Israel to the Arabian Peninsula, and in Africa from Egypt and Sudan east of the Nile to north to Ethiopia. They inhabit rugged desert and precipitous cliffs (altitudes of up to 8,500 feet).
DIET: Herbivorous. They mostly graze on grass in the summer; in winter they consume herbs and leaves.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: A heavy body with short and sturdy legs. The male is 30 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 150 pounds. The horns are thick, curved, and scimitar-shaped, with ridges on the front. Females are about one-third the size of males on average, and also have horns. Both sexes have thick, wooly beards. Powerful limbs, typical of wild goats, facilitate the ibex’s speed and agility through rocks and steep slopes.
Nubian ibex are highly gregarious even though they live in separate herds of male and female. Mating season in the fall brings them together, and a new ibex is born about 21 weeks later. Kids are able to stand shortly after birth and can jump the first day. Juvenile males will stay with the female herd of 10 to 20 members until they are old enough to join a bachelor herd. Nubian ibex can live up to 17 years.