|Female and male at the Berlin Zoologischer Garten, Germany|
The Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) is a species of ibex that lives in central, northern and Southern Asia. It has traditionally been treated as a subspecies of the Alpine Ibex, and whether it is specifically distinct from other ibex is still not entirely clear. It is the longest and heaviest members of the genus Capra, though its shoulder height is surpassed by the Markhor.
Individual sizes vary greatly, from heights between 67–110 centimetres (26–43 in) and weights between 35–130 kilograms (77–287 lb). Typical colouration is a light tan with lighter undersides; in the winter, mature males becoming much darker with white patches. Both sexes have beards and horns, though the male's beard is more pronounced. While the female's horns are small, those of a mature male can grow to a length of 130 centimetres (51 in) and also have large ridges. Though recent authorities often treat it as monotypic, some have recognized four subspecies, C. s. sibirica, C. s. altaiana, C. s. hagenbecki and C. s. sakeen, based mainly on differences in total size, size of horns and colour of pelage.
The female's gestation period lasts between 5–6 months, after which a single kid (sometimes 2 or even 3) is born. After 1.5–2 years, the kid is sexually mature. It can live for up to 16–17 years.
Usually living at high elevations, sometimes at the vegetation line and well above the tree line, they seek out lower slopes during the winter in search of food. They have also been known to seek out tree lines on hot days, but they do not enter forested areas, preferring to return to their alpine habitat when the weather has cooled. When snow is heavy, they have to paw away snow to reach the vegetation below. Their diet primarily consists of alpine grasses and herbs. Its main predators are wolves, snow leopards, and brown bears, young ibex may also fall prey to lynxes, foxes, and eagles.
Habitat and distribution
Typically found in mountainous regions and alpine meadows, but can inhabit a range of regions, including deserts, foothills, and rocky outcrops. Most Siberian ibexes are seen in central and northern Asia, Afghanistan, western and northern China (Primarily Xinjiang), north-western India, south-eastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, eastern Uzbekistan, Mongolia, northern Pakistan, and south-central Russia.
- Reading, R. & Shank, C. (2008). Capra sibirica. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- Fedosenko, A. K., and Blank, D. A. 2001. Capra sibirica. Mammalian Species 675: 1–13.
- Huffman, B. (2004). Capra sibirica. ultimateungulate.com
- Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.