Nubian Ibex - Asia | Online Record Book Preview
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Nubian Ibex - Species Detail
Ibice Nubio (Sp), Nubischer Steinbock (G), Bouquetin de Nubie (F). Named after the Nubian region in northeastern Africa. Also called beden (Arabic), or mideastern ibex.
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 25-33 inches (64-84 cm). Weight 100-150 pounds (45-68 kg), sometimes more in areas of sufficient forage. Females are smaller.
Smaller and more lightly built than other true ibexes, and with slender, scimitar-shaped horns. Color is light brown with a dark dorsal stripe. Underparts and chin are whitish. Legs have conspicuous black-and-white markings. Beard is long and dark, and the short tail has a tuft of stiff black hairs. Ears are large, measuring 4-5 inches (10-12 cm) in length. The male's horns are long and rather narrow, forming three-fourths of a circle. The front surface is flattened at an obtuse angle, with a rounded outer edge and a sharp inner edge, and is strongly cross-ridged. The Nubian ibex is distinguished from Asian and Alpine ibexes by its narrower horns with their rounded outer edges, its white belly, and its contrasting black-and-white leg markings. Asian specimens of Nubian ibex are somewhat smaller than those from Africa, and have shorter, thinner horns. The female is similar, lighter in color, beardless (except very old females may have small beards), and has very short horns.
BEHAVIOR Lives in small mixed herds or is solitary. Active early morning and late afternoon, also during the night where persecuted. Eats grass, bushes and foliage. Will stand on hind legs to browse from bushes or trees. Has to make do with little or no water during much of the year. Eyesight, hearing and sense of smell are exceptional. An extremely agile climber on the steepest rock.
HABITAT Arid desert mountains from below sea level to 6,000 feet (1,800 m).
DISTRIBUTION Found in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, and in Israel, southwestern Jordan, and the Arabian Peninsula. Formerly also in Lebanon and Syria, but no longer occurs there.
Outside Asia, it is found in the Red Sea Hills of Egypt and Sudan, and in northern Eritrea. Has been introduced in the Tatra Mountains of eastern Europe, where it is reported to have hybridized with similarly introduced bezoar ibex and reintroduced Alpine ibex. Also introduced on game ranches elsewhere in the world.
TAXONOMIC NOTES The following subspecies have been listed by various authorities: arabica (Sinai), beden (southwestern Arabia), mengesi (southeastern Arabia), nubiana (upper Egypt and Sudan), and sinaitica (Sinai); however, scientists no longer consider them valid.
REMARKS The Nubian ibex is an excellent game animal, as are all the world's wild goats. It lives in some of the harshest, least hospitable terrain on Earth, where it has been persecuted for centuries by the local people. Hunted by glassing and stalking, by conducting drives, or by waiting at water holes. The first two require fitness on the part of the hunter; all require long-range shooting ability, often at a moving target. Success is by no means certain.
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