Rebeco (Sp), Gams (G), Chamois (F). "Chamois" is a French word for wild goat; however, this animal is not actually a goat, but a goat-antelope of the tribe Rupicaprini, which are the primitive forebears of the goats. Until recently, all chamois were thought to constitute one species; however, scientists now recognize two: the common chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) of central Europe eastward to the Caucasus and Turkey; and the western chamois (R. pyrenaica) of Spain, adjacent parts of France, and central Italy. The former would appear to be the species presently being hunted on U.S. game ranches.
DESCRIPTION Shoulder height 28-31 inches (71-79 cm). Weight 65-110 pounds (29-50 kg).
A beautiful mountain animal-sturdy, hardy, agile and graceful. The hoofs have hard, sharp edges to utilize small rock projections, and rubbery soles to grip on slippery rock. The short summer coat is pale brown or reddish in color. The winter coat of long guard hairs over thick underfur is a darker shade of brown. Underparts are pale; rump is white. The throat, lower jaw and front of face are white and there is a dark mask from ear to muzzle. Both sexes grow short, slim, black horns that hook sharply backward near the tips. Females are somewhat smaller than males, with horns that are slimmer but sometimes longer.
DISTRIBUTION Private properties, mainly in Missouri.
REMARKS Chamois are native to the mountains of Europe and the Mideast, from Spain eastward to the Caucasus and eastern Turkey. They also have been introduced on the South Island of New Zealand.
HYBRIDIZATION The chamois is either known or believed to crossbreed, or to be the result of hybridization, when in a game ranch environment.