History of the Nubian Ibex

The Nubian ibex lives in a desert dwelling, mountainous, arid habitat and uses its shiny, waterproof coat to reflect harsh sunlight and stay dry. This smaller species of goat spends the nights in the mountains to avoid predators and the days grazing on grass and leaves.

The Nubian ibex has a special way to deal with the hot, dry climates of the African and Arabian mountains: Their shiny coats reflect sunlight and keep them cool.

Ibex are social and live in groups called herds. The herds are segregated by gender, meaning males will have a herd, and the females and offspring will be in another herd. The two herds usually meet only during breeding season.

The male herd is called a bachelor herd. Sometimes, males will wander without a herd. Female herds can have 10 to 20 members. 

Ibex are very nimble. They can jump more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) straight up without a running start. This helps them climb mountainous terrain with ease.

People have hunted the ibex for thousands of years. They provided humans with meat to eat and hide to use as clothing. Several thousand years ago in southwest Asia and the Middle East, humans began domesticating wild goats.


Ibex males use scent to communicate with potential mates. Nubian ibex males use their beards to spread a scent that draws in and excites females during breeding season. Breeding season for ibex is called the rut. During the rut, males fight for the right to breed with the females by pushing their heads together. Once pregnant, females will have a gestation period of 150 to 163 days. She will give birth to one (most common) , 2 occasionally,  three (very rare) babies, called kids, at a time. Females will go on to have their own young at 2 to 6 years of age. Known to travel up to 36 miles during breeding season.

Sexual Maturity: Females mature at or around 2 years of age; males at significantly older ages due to social constraints. 

Conservation Status: Declining

Diet: Herbivore

Life Expectancy: 9-11 years in captivity, around 12 years in the wild

Current North American population (from Mott and Putnam 2013)

• 73 animals, as of December 2013 

o Distributed across 7 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions; 1 non-AZA institution

o 34 males, 39 females

o All descended from 13 founders; imported during the early-1960s and mid-1970s 

 From the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Israel - a part of the Israel Nature Reserves and National Parks Authority, which established and coordinated a protected breeding and reintroduction program for endangered and locally extinct animals mentioned in the Bible

Few systematic surveys have been conducted to determine global population size. Most Nubian ibex live within the state of Israel, though significant numbers are also found in Saudi Arabia

References:, Wikipedia, San Diego Zoo