Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Creature Feature #96: Chamois

This sure-footed goat-antelope is found naturally in the Pyrenees, where he spends his summers at high elevations. During the cooler months he ventures down in to the lower pine forests. If danger threatens, he can run up to 50 kph or leap 2 m vertically, 6m horizontally. Females and their kids live in herds of up to 100 individuals, but when he attains sexual maturity (around 3-4 years old) he will be forced out by the dominant male. For the next few years he leads a solitary existence, only come into contact with the herds of females during the rutting season. Here he will compete with other males to secure a mate or establish himself as head of the herd. Chamois have been successfully introduced to New Zealand where they are a popular game animal and have had a negative influence on the native flora.

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