Spanish ibexes are strong mountainous animals characterized by their large and ﬂexible hooves and short legs. Due to these physical adaptations, ibexes are able to run and leap on bare, rocky, rough, and steep slopes. These animals are usually brownish to grayish in color. Males are greater in size and weight and also have larger horns than the females.
Spanish ibexes are found along the Spanish Iberian Peninsula and have even migrated and settled into the coast of Portugal. These animals live in rocky habitats and prefer areas with cliffs scattered with scrub, coniferous trees or deciduous trees.
Spanish ibexes are social creatures and most of the year males and females live in separate groups. Kids usually travel in the center of adult females groups for better protection. Mixed groups are common during the rutting season and the rest of the winter. Spanish ibexes are diurnal and often live near human settlements. They have a unique way of signaling others about a predator. First, the ibex will have an erect posture with its ears and head pointing in the direction of the potential predator. The caller will then signal the other ibexes in the group with one or more alarm calls. Once the group has heard the alarm calls, they will flee to another area like a rocky slope where the predator cannot reach. Ibexes usually flee in a very coordinated fashion that is led by an experienced adult female in female-juvenile groups and an experienced male in male-only groups.
Spanish ibexes are polygynous breeders. During the rutting season that takes place in November-December, males compete to mate with females by head butting. The gestation period lasts around 161-168 days after which females give birth to 1 or 2 kids. During the birth season, the yearling are separated from the female groups at the time of the new births. The males are the first to separate and return to their male-only groups while the female yearlings eventually return to their mothers and spend their next few years with the group. Females reach reproductive maturity when they are around 1,5 years old, while males are ready to breed at the age of 3 years.
Hunting pressure, agricultural development, and habitat deterioration are the main threats due to which the populations of Spanish ibexes have decreased significantly over the last centuries. Future threats to these animals include population overabundance, disease, and potential competition with domestic livestock and other ungulates, along with the negative effects of human disturbance through tourism and hunting.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Spanish ibexes is around 50,000 individuals. There are estimated populations of the species in the following areas: Sierra Nevada - 16,000 individuals; Sierra de Gredos - 8,000 individuals; Maestrazgo - 7,000 individuals; Serranía de Ronda and Sierras de Grazalema - 4,000 individuals; Puertos de Tortosa y Beceite Natural Park - 4,000 individuals; Cazorla - 2,500 individuals; Sierra Tejeda y Almijara - 2,500 individuals; Sierras de Antequera - 2,000 individuals; Sierra Morena - 2,000 individuals and Muela de Córtes - 1,500 individuals. In 2003 the Portuguese population included around 75 individuals. Currently, Spanish ibexes are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing.