Siberian Ibex

Siberian Ibex

Capra sibirica
Population size
Life Span
10-22 yrs
34-130 kg
67-110 cm

Siberian ibexes are large and heavily built goats. Their coats vary in color ranging from dark brown to light tan, with some reddish individuals. There is usually a stripe of darker hair down the center of the back and onto the tail, and some males have saddle-like patches on the back in the winter. The undersides are paler, and, in the winter, mature males becoming much darker with white patches. Females and infants are generally blander in color and do not always have the stripe down the back. Siberian ibexes typically molt between April and July, developing their paler summer coat, which continues to grow and become darker during the year, reaching the full winter condition around December. Both sexes have beards and horns. The female's horns are relatively small, and grey-brown in color. Those of fully-grown males are black. Both sexes have circular rings around their horns that represent annual growth, but males also have large transverse ridges along the front surface.


Siberian ibexes are found in Afghanistan, western and northern China (Primarily Xinjiang), north-western India, south-eastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, eastern Uzbekistan, Mongolia, northern Pakistan, and south-central Russia. These animals live mostly above the tree line, in areas of steep slopes and rocky scree. Their habitat consists of a mixture of high altitude tundra, alpine meadows, and regions of semi-desert. In the Gobi Desert, they may be found on hills as low as 700 m (2,300 ft) in summer, descending to lower, sometimes sparsely forested, slopes during the winter.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Siberian ibexes live in herds that vary in size depending on the local population; about 5-30 is most common, although they can become much larger during the rut. Outside of the rut, most herds are single-sex, although some mixed-sex herds persist throughout the year. Siberian ibexes are diurnal and spend much of the day grazing, staying an hour or more at each location before moving on. Usually living at high elevations, Siberian ibexes seek out lower slopes during the winter in search of food. They seek out shaded areas with vegetation on hot days but do not enter forested areas, preferring to return to their alpine habitat when the weather has cooled. When snow is heavy, they will paw away snow to reach the vegetation below. Siberian ibexes communicate with each other during the breeding season, when warning about predators, and for recognition between mother and young. Females usually recognize their newborn through scents and also call their young for feeding. Communication during the rut is based mainly on physical posturing in which males perform flehmen. Flehmen includes raising and curling of the upper lip, along with shutting the external nares.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Siberian ibexes are herbivores (folivores) and their diet mainly consists of alpine grasses and herbs. During spring and summer, they feed mainly on grasses and sedges, while during winter they eat more tall herbs, and the twigs and needles of trees such as aspen, spruce, juniper, and willow. During the summer, they often visit salt licks.

Mating Habits

late October-early January
170-180 days
1 kid
6 months
doe, nanny
buck, billy
kid, billy

Siberian ibexes are polygynous which means that males mate with more than one females. Courtship rituals consist of licking, ritualized postures, and flehmen. Males compete for dominance during the rut, rearing up on their hind legs and clashing their horns together. The rut takes place from late October to early January. The gestation period lasts 170-180 days, after which usually a single kid is born, although twins and triplets may also be born but on rare occasions. Newborn kids weigh about 3 kg (6.6 lb) and grow rapidly during their first year. The horns are visible after about 3-4 weeks. They begin to eat at 8 days after birth, but do not do so regularly until they are about one month old, and are not fully weaned until 6 months. Males reach reproductive maturity at 18 months of age but do not reach their full adult size for 9 years. Females first breed in their second year.


Population threats

Main threats to Siberian ibexes are hunting for food and poaching in some areas by military personnel, road maintenance workers, and others. Other threats include competition with livestock for food and habitat, and in some areas by local predators among which are wolves, dholes, snow leopards, lynxes, foxes, and eagles.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Siberian ibex is abundant and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. However, there are estimates of its populations in the following areas: China: Tian Shan - 40,000-50,000 individuals; Bei Mountains (northern Gansu) - 3,000-4,000 individuals. India: Ladakh - 6,000 individuals; south side of the main Himalaya - 4,000 individuals; Kanji-Boodkharbu Wildlife Sanctuary - 330 individuals; Lungnag Wildlife Sanctuary - 225 individuals; Rangdum Wildlife Sanctuary - 250 individuals; Rizong Wildlife Sanctuary - 174 individuals; Pin Valley National Park - 174 individuals. Former Soviet Republics of Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - 70,000 individuals; Kazakhstan - 17,000 individuals; southern Siberia - 8,000-9,000 individuals; Altai - 3,000-3,500 individuals; Tannu Ola mountains of Tuva - 2,500 individuals; Western Sayan - 1,500 individuals; Eastern Sayan - 2,000-2,500 individuals; Uzbekistan - 2,400 individuals. Mongolia - around 80,000 individuals. Northern Pakistan - 2,545 individuals; Azad Jammu and Kashmir - 375 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.


1. Siberian Ibex on Wikipedia -
2. Siberian Ibex on The IUCN Red List site -

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