Descendent like all other Ibexes, from the Capra Sibirica, whose origin can be traced back to Glacier Age in Central Asia, The Spanish Ibex, Capra Hispanica, emerged from an evolutionary process which produced an animal able to conquer the mountain zones of Western Europe: the rough somber heights of the Iberian Peninsula. On studying this animal, you will find distinct resemblance between it and other Ibexes (the Siberian, the Pamir, the Nubian, the Abysinian, the Pasang, and the Alpine, as well as similarities, to the Eastern and western Tur, and with the Bharal or Blue Sheep.
A good Spanish Ibex weighs 225 pounds and measures 36 inches to the shoulder. In summer the animal has a short haired cost of pale gray fur with black underpants. In winter, the hair is longer and darker and it will have a great black spot on the animal’s chest, along with black legs and broad black under parts.
Once the Ibex reaches 10 years of age, its horns usually measure over 27 inches in length, and 9 or 10 at the base.
The mating season starts around the middle of November and can last until the beginning of December, with the ewe’s pregnancy lasting 5 months. The Ibex is a browser and grazer and Eduardo Araoz says he has seen them climbing bushes and trees to get at fine and tender sprouts, and acorns.
The first description of 4 different types of Ibex was written by PhD’s Forestry Engineers Jorge de la Peña, and Jose Maria de la Cerda in their article “El Macho Montes” which was published in June of 1971.
These two scientists worked on a sample of 240 trophies of Spanish Ibex taken from the different mountains of Spain, and gathered on occasion of the Great National Exposition of Trophy Animals which took place that year in Madrid in conjunction with the Conseil International de la Chase, (CIC).
This sample of trophies allowed the two scientists to reach the conclusion that 4 different types of Spanish Ibex could be differentiated in the areas of distribution indicated in the map which are defined by the name of their mountain range as follows;
GREDOS IBEX, (Mountains of Gredos and Batuecas, principally) BECEITE IBEX, (Mountains of Beceite and Tortosa principally) SOUTH EASTERN IBEX, (Mnts. of Almijara, Sierra Nevada, Lujar and Almería principally) RONDA IBEX, (Mountains of Ronda and Málaga principally)
It should be mentioned that there where two more types of Ibex in Spain unfortunately today extinct; Spanish Pyrenean Ibex, which used to inhabit the Pyrenean Mountains, and another North Western Ibex, Capra Lusitanica.
Famous Spanish naturalists, Mr. Jose Maria Almendral, author of the book “Macho Montes: Origen vida y muerte” (Spanish Ibex: origin, life and death), published in 1979, in which he shares the same conclusion of the four existing types of Spanish Ibex. There are also some prehistoric paintings that clearly show the difference in horn configuration of the Spanish Ibex.
The differences refer to:
The body size, -the largest being the Beceite Ibex and the smallest the Ronda Ibex-
The hide coloration, -the darkest being the Gredos and the lightest the Ronda Ibex-
The horn size, -the largest being Gredos and Beceite followed by South Eastern and the smallest the Ronda Ibex
The horn configuration, and the insertion of the horn into the skull.
It is to be noted that the horn configuration is not uniform and not the “typical” one in “all” the animals of a specific mountain range; actually you can find variations amongst the animals of a given herd. Same is also true with the cape coloration which varies depending on the time of the year, even though the general description is still valid through out the year.
Based on all the above SCI record book committee in their meeting held in March 29 and August 20 1986, voted to create four categories of the Spanish Ibex, based on the following description of the four types of horn configuration and Trophy medal class scoring, which at this moment (April 2013), SCI scores is the following:
Spanish Ibex, Gredos type; Capra hispanica victoriae
Typical Lira form with a strong growing curve. The horn keel is aggressive with all helicoidal turn over 180º. The size of the knobs decreases progressively from the growing point to the tip which is very thin.
Bronze 70-75 3/8 SCI points, Silver 75 4/8 SCI points, Gold over 80 3/8 SCI points.
Spanish Ibex, Beceite type; Capra hispanica maritimus
Horns with a more straight and vertical growing curve. The horn keel is well defined with a helicoidal turn of less than 180º. The size of the knobs remains the same along the first half of the horn and decreases towards the second half to the tip which is not so thin.
Bronze 69 – 75 3/8 SCI points, Silver 75 4/8 – 79 7/8 SCI points, Gold over 80 SCI points.
Spanish Ibex, South Eastern type; Capra hispanica penibeticus
This type of horn configuration resembles the ones of sheep therefore it is nick named “Mouflon type”. The main characteristic is the strong curve growing aggressively backwards from the skull. The horn keel is very smooth which provides an almost round section. The form of the horns is circular with the tips growing towards the neck.
Bronze 63 – 69 1/8 SCI points, Silver 69 2/8 – 74 4/8 SCI points, Gold over 74 5/8 SCI points.
Spanish Ibex Ronda type; Capra hispanica meridionalis
The growing of the horns is flat and with a small angel. The horn keel is well marked with a helicoidal turn of 90º. The size of the knobs is the same along the first part of the horn and decreases slowly to the tips which are broomed. It resembles the Alpine Ibex.
Bronze 56 – 61 7/8 SCI points, Silver 62 -66 SCI points, Gold over 66 SCI points.
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