|Subspecies:||R. r. tatrica|
|Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica
The Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica; Slovak: Kamzík vrchovský tatranský; Polish: Kozica tatrzańska) is a subspecies of the chamois of the Rupicapra genus. Tatra chamois lives in the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia and Poland.
Population and distribution
Tatra chamois lives in all parts of the Tatras: West Tatras (Slovakia and Poland) and Eastern Tatras, which consist of the High Tatras (Slovakia and Poland) and the Belianske Tatras (Slovakia), all protected by national parks in both countries.
The population has undergone several bottoms and peaks in known history, with most noticeable bottoms during both world wars. Highest population in 20th century was recorded in year 1964, when as much as 940 individuals were counted in Slovak part of Tatras. But since then, the population declined steadily to the lowest recorded numbers in history at the end of the century. During years 1999-2000 numbers dropped below 200 individuals, which is considered critical population size for long-term survival of the subspecies.
A 5-year programme to save Tatra Chamois started in 2001, focusing on preserving chamois environment especially during mating season by strict regulation of tourism and suppressing of poaching. The programme was successful as population started to recover and after some 10 years even reached to highest numbers in recorded history.
As of 2006, the Slovak Tatra National Park was home to 371 chamois, of which 72 were lambs, and the Polish Tatra National Park was home to 117 chamois, of which 27 were lambs. As of 2010, a population recovered to 841 chamois, of which 74 were lambs, 699 (57 lambs) in Slovakia and 142 (17 lambs) in Poland, which is near to population peak of year 1964. Highest ever population was recorded in year 2014, when 1389 chamois were counted in Tatras.
Introduction to Low Tatras
Because of concerns of survivability in its native range, the Tatra Chamois was also artificially introduced in the Low Tatras mountains, situated south of Tatras, in years 1969 to 1976, to create reserve population there. The introduction involved 30 individuals and was successful as the population grew up to stable 100-130 individuals.
But recent DNA studies showed, that Low Tatras population crossbred with Alpine Chamois migrating from Fatra mountains and Slovak Paradise national park. Thus Low Tatra's chamois are no longer pure Tatra Chamois and are no longer considered as reserve population for the Tatra Chamois. Alpine Chamois were introduced to Slovakia for hunting purposes before Tatra Chamois were officially classified as separate subspecies.
- Aulagnier, S.; Giannatos, G. & Herrero, J. (2008). "Rupicapra rupicapra". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- "Program záchrany kamzíka vrchovského tatranského na roky 2001 - 2005" (in Slovak). 2001.
- "Kamzík tatranský vrchovský" (PDF) (in Slovak). Tatra National Park Administration. September 2006. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
- Libor Bolda (November 4, 2010). "Kamzíků je letos v Tatrách 841" [841 Chamois in Tatras this year] (in Czech).
- "Fauna Tatranského národného parku" (in Slovak). Tatra National Park Administration. 2008. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- "Autumn census 2012" (in Slovak). TANAP Administration. 31 October 2012.
- "Autumn census 2013" (in Slovak). TANAP Administration. 30 October 2013.
- "Autumn census 2014" (in Slovak). TANAP Administration. 28 October 2014.
- "Autumn census 2015" (in Slovak). TANAP Administration. 5 November 2015.
- "Autumn census 2016" (in Slovak). TANAP Administration. 8 November 2016.
- "Kamzík vrchovský tatranský (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica)" (in Slovak). Low Tatras National Park Administration. 19 June 2007.
- "Nízkotatranské kamzíky už tatranského nezachránia" (in Slovak). Popradský Korzár. 19 October 2011.
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- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica (Tatra chamois) — Critically endangered animal.