Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex)
Carlo Forte (October)
The Alpine Ibex commonly called by its local names in the various languages - French bouquetin, German steinbock, Italian stambecco, Slovenian kozorog, or by its Latin nickname: capricornÃ¢Â.Â.is the species of ibex that lives in the European Alps.
Being an excellent climber, its habitat is the rocky region along the snowline above alpine forests of the European Alps. They tend to occupy steep, rough terrain at elevations of 6,500Ã¢Â.Â.15,000 feet. These were photographed while I was working recently on IML Assessment in Switzerland at about 2500m
The Ibex has for a long time been regarded as a mystical animal; almost all of its body parts and its excrement were sought after as cures for various illnesses and as ingredients for magical potions. As a result of very extensive hunting, the Ibex was almost extinct as early as the beginning 19th century. Thanks to the efforts of a small group of foresters, the last remaining animals in Gran Paradiso were protected in 1816. In 1854, Victor Emmanuel II of Italy placed the animals under his personal custody. Today, after extensive and ongoing reintroduction programs, the population in the wild is estimated at about 30,000.