Pyrenean Ibex Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Pyrenean Ibex / Bucardo

Scientific Name:

Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica

Wild Status:

Extinct

Habitat:

Mountainous/rocky habitats, and rocky farmland

Country:

France, Portugal, Spain, Andorra

Shelter:

Small caves and steep terrain

Life Span:

Roughly 12-17 years

Size:

60 - 180 pounds, 2-3 feet tall

Cool Facts:

  • The males had large thick horns, that curved outward and backwards. Females had shorter horns that were more cylindrical.
  • The Pyrenean Ibex was an herbivore, primarily feeding on herbs and grasses.
  • The Pyrenean Ibex would migrate with the seasons, preferring elevated mountain areas during the spring, and heading to valleys that weren't covered in snow during the winter.
  • After a cloned female was born alive in 2003, the Pyrenean Ibex became the first subspecies to officially become "unextinct", if only for a few minutes.

Details:

The Pyrenean Ibex was one of four subspecies of Iberian Ibex. The last living individual was killed by a fallen tree, and the subspecies was officially declared extinct in 2000. The Pyrenean Ibex would live in rocky habitats like mountain goats and other similar ungulates, although they preferred areas were interspersed trees, as well as a habitat near the Iberian coast. After this subspecies went extinct, three teams of scientists worked on a plan to use tissue samples they had taken and try to clone the last female, to revive the species. There were many issues with this plan, with one of the major problems being that no males existed so even if this was successful, the clone could not reproduce to grow the species further. On July 30, 2003, one clone was born alive but died a few minutes later because of lung defects. This marked the first time an attempt was made to revive an extinct subspecies, and provides hope in possibly going further in the future as technology develops.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla Family: Bovidae Subfamily: Caprinae Genus: Capra Species. C. pyrenaica Subspecies: C. p. pyrenaica

Conservation & Helping:

The last individual Pyrenean Ibex, was a female named Celia, and she died in 2000 officially leaving the subspecies extinct. Contributing to their extinction was competition with other ungulates such as cattle, goats, and horses. This caused overgrazing and competition, leading to heavy population declines in dry years. This subspecies was the first group to officially become "unextinct" in 2003 when a cloned female was born alive, however she died a few minutes later from lung defects.

For Teachers and Educators

Pyrenean-Ibex-Fact-Sheet.pdf

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