The Himalayan Ibex (Capra sibirica hemalayanus) is a species of wild goat found in the trans-himalayan regions of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Earlier thought to be a subspecies of the Siberian Ibex, it was proven by the Zoological Survey of India in March 2020 that the Himalayan Ibex is a distinct species.
This article will give more details about the Himalayan Ibex within the context of the IAS Exam.
Details about the Himalayan Ibex
The Himalayan Ibex is a member of the Ibex species, a type of wild goat that roams the mountain ranges around the world. They are easily recognised by the curved horns and beards.
The females horns are relatively small in comparison to the male measuring about 27 cm long. The horns of a fully grown male is entirely black and measures about 115 cm and in some cases can grow to 145 cm.
Females are grey brown and have dark markings on their legs. Both males and females have a dark dorsal stripe running down the length of their back.
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Further details of the Himalayan Ibex is discussed in the table given below:
Characteristics of Himalayan Ibex
|Size||103-132 cm (male)
|Weight||60-130 Kg (Male)
30-56 kg (Female)
|Habitat||Steep crags above the tree line in the Himalayas up to 5500 m. In Himalayas frequents at 3400-4400 m.|
|Species name||Capra sibirica hemalayanus|
Behaviour and Diet
They are usually found in small herds, that number about 50 together. In winter, they come down to lower elevations in search of food as the mountains get covered in snow. In summer they move back upward as the snow melts.
Himalayan Ibex is a herbivore whose diet consists of alpine grasses and herbs. In summer and spring grasses and sedges form the majority of their diet, while in winter they consume tall herbs and the twigs of trees like juniper and willow
Heavy snow on the mountains brings down the Himalayan Ibex near warmer pastures, but it also brings its predator as well – the snow leopard.
Conservation Status of the Himalayan Ibex
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Himalayan Ibex as ‘least concerned’. A least-concerned designated species is not a focus of species conservation as their population is widespread and not threatened with extinction.
Regardless the ibex population is still vulnerable due to illegal hunting, habitat loss and competition for forage with domestic livestock.
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