Rupricapra rupricapra rupricapra, including tatrica.
Rebeco de los Alpes (Sp), Alpengams (G), Chamois alpin (F).
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 28-31 inches (71-79 cm). Weight 65-110 pounds (29-50 kg).
Summer coat is light brown. Winter coat is very dark brown to black, contrasting sharply with white areas of head, throat and rump, and with the dark facial mask very pronounced.
DISTRIBUTION & TAXONOMIC NOTES Indigenous Alpine chamois (R. r. rupicapra) are found in the Alps of southeastern France, northern Italy, Switzerland, southwestern Germany, western Austria and Slovenia. They have also been introduced in a number of places in France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.
For now, we lump the Tatra chamois (R. r. tatrica), from the Tatra Mountains of Poland and Slovakia, with Alpine chamois because introductions of the latter have been made near Tatra chamois populations in Slovakia and it is possible they may have interbred. Scientists separated the Tatra chamois from the Alpine chamois in 1972 because of its larger skull and certain other cranial measurements, its somewhat different coloration, and its different ecological requirements. Its horns, however, are about the same size as those of the Alpine chamois.
The Polish population of Tatra chamois, which is totally protected, is found only in Tatra National Park on the border with Slovakia, where its numbers have dropped to fewer than 200 because of habitat loss, poaching and disturbance from tourists. Tatra chamois number fewer than 1,000 in Slovakia, where they are native to the area within Tatra National Park adjacent to Poland, and were introduced in Low Tatra National Park to the south, where their genetic purity is threatened by interbreeding with introduced Alpine chamois.
For record-keeping, we treat all populations of Alpine (including Tatra) chamois as indigenous.
STATUS Alpine chamois numbers are estimated at around 400,000. Stable and increasing.