Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex) are big wild mountain goats that live among the peaks in the European Alps where predators cannot reach. They are a sexually dimorphic goat with larger curved horns and like to occupy the steep, rocky terrain above the tree line between 2000 to 3000 meters above sea level. It is extremely difficult to live there because there is no food upon the point.
These goats are very social as both males and females live separately most of the year and coming together just for the mating purpose. The breeding season begins in early December and lasts around six weeks. During this time, male Ibex herds break up into smaller groups that look for females.
When the spring and summer season comes, then plenty of grass available to them for feed. Like the snow falling starts, they are fattening up and build reserves to meet their requirements in winters. During the colder weather, the Alpine Ibex make their homes safely in the clouds. Many studies have shown the flexibility of their social systems related to environmental conditions.
The Capra ibex sibiricais related to predation, winter snowpack, forage availability, and human activities; in moose and white-tailed deer snowfall has an important influence on habitat selection. During the rut, ibexes used larch woods and rocky slopes, probably to minimize the risk of avalanches.
In the spring there was great variability in the use of the different habitats. The ibexes exploited all kinds of fresh vegetation to gratify their energetic requirements, and low altitude pastures were used only in this season. In summer, Ibexes stayed at a higher altitude, above the timberline and seemed to prefer Alpine meadows and stone ravines.
The Alpine Ibex lacks some essential minerals in their diet, like salt which aren’t available in the grass. Like many herbivores, the Ibex must seek out natural salt licks. In the spring season, they meet their salt requirements but licking rock surfaces for leached salts. The concrete Dams fulfills the needs of salt and minerals to Alpine Ibex. These Dams release the calcium-aluminum mineral during the curing process. This process is also called ettringite almost 20% available in hardened concrete.
The Alpine Ibex are excellent climbers. They can easily climb any sheer vertical face of the dam’s wall. During the climbing process, they use small protruding boulders as a foothold to lick ettringite off the dam’s wall surface. These mountain goats scale such massive heights due to their soft, split hooves.
The Ibex can scale such great heights because of their soft, split hooves that can grip any surface like a pincer. The large grazing mountain goats’ ungulates habitat has been studied in reintroduced populations in the central and eastern European Alps.
The Italian Cingino Dam is a famous place where many Alpine Ibex’s gravity-defying stunts. Moreover, such unusual behavior has also been observed at the Barbellino dam in Lombardy, and Lago della Rossa dam in Valli di Lanzo, Piemonte. The Alpine ibex approaches sexual maturity at around 18 months, but females do not reach their maximum body size for 5 to 6 years.