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ibex

ibex (ī´bĕks), wild goat, genus Capra, found in rugged country on mountain ranges from central Asia to the Himalayas, S Europe, and NE Africa. Ibexes are surefooted and agile; they usually travel in small herds of about a dozen animals, feeding on a wide variety of vegetation. Most of the isolated populations of the various ranges are races of the single species Capra ibex and differ chiefly in the size of their horns. Ibexes are brown to gray, from 21/2 to 31/2 ft (76–106 cm) tall at the shoulder, and very sturdily built. The chin is bearded, and the tail is short. The long, heavily ridged horns of the male curve up, back, and downward; in the Alpine race they form a semicircle and measure 30 in. (76 cm) along the edge. In some other races the male has still longer horns. The horns of the female are short and point straight back. The Alpine race is now found only on reserves in Switzerland. Closely related species are the tur, or Caucasian ibex (C. caucasia), of SE Russia; the Spanish ibex, or Spanish tur (C. pyrenaica), now extinct in the Pyrenees but still found in other parts of the Iberian Peninsula; and the markhor (C. falconeri), of central Asia. Ibexes and other goats are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.

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markhor

markhor (mär´kôr), wild goat, Capra falconeri, found in the rugged mountains of central Asia, from S Russia to the W Himalayas. Largest of the goats, the male may stand over 40 in. (100 cm) at the shoulder and weigh over 200 lb (90 kg). The coat is short and reddish brown in summer; in winter it is long, silky, and gray. Males have long, thick beards. The distinctive corkscrew-shaped horns are extremely thick and heavy. Markhors live in small herds of between 4 and 30 individuals, grazing up to the snow line. The isolated populations of the different mountain ranges constitute distinct races; most are near extinction because of extensive hunting. In Russia and the Central Asian Republics, where the markhor has been protected since the 1930s, its numbers have increased to about 1,000. The markhor is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.

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ibex

i·bex / ˈīˌbeks/ • n. (pl. ibexes ) a wild goat (genus Capra, esp. C. ibex) with long, thick ridged horns that curve back, found in the mountains of the Alps, Pyrenees, central Asia, and Ethiopia.

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ibex

ibex Any of several species of wild goat. The long, backward-curving horns grow up to 1.5m (5ft) long on the male, and both sexes have long, yellow-brown hair. Ibexes are renowned for their agility. Height: 85cm (3ft) at shoulder. Family Bovidae.

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ibex

ibexaxe (US ax), Backs, Bax, fax, flax, lax, max, pax, Sachs, sax, saxe, tax, wax •co-ax • addax • Fairfax • Ceefax •Halifax • Telefax • Filofax • banjax •Ajax •pickaxe (US pickax) • gravlax •gravadlax • poleaxe • toadflax •parallax •battleaxe (US battleax) •minimax • climax • Betamax • anthrax •hyrax •borax, storax, thorax •syntax • surtax • beeswax • earwax •Berks, Lourenço Marques, Marks, Marx, Parks, Sparks •annex, convex, ex, flex, hex, perplex, Rex, sex, specs, Tex, Tex-Mex, vex •ibex • index • codex • tubifex •spinifex • pontifex • Telex • triplex •simplex • multiplex •ilex, silex •complex • duplex • circumflex • Amex •annexe • Kleenex • apex • Tipp-Ex •haruspex • perspex • Pyrex •Durex, Lurex, murex •Middlesex • unisex • Semtex • latex •cortex, Gore-tex, vortex •vertex • Jacques •breeks, idée fixe, maxixe, Weeks

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Ibex

IBEX

IBEX (Heb. יָעֵל, ya'el; av, jps "wild goat"), the wild goat Capra ibex nubiana, a wild animal permitted for food. Only the ibex and the gazelle have survived from over ten species of cloven-hoofed ruminants which inhabited Ereẓ Israel in former times. Because of its tasty meat, the ibex was much sought after by hunters but escaped extinction through its ability to exist on precipitous mountains in desert regions, such as En-Gedi, Elath, and the Negev heights. Able to jump from rocks and to climb steep rock faces, it was called ya'el in Hebrew (and waʿl in Arabic), a word derived from the root meaning "to ascend." The "rocks of the ibex" in the neighborhood of En-Gedi have served as a hiding place at various times. David fled there from Saul (i Sam. 24:1–3) and Bar Kokhba's fighters took refuge in the caves.

Ibex live in herds. The male has horns reaching up to 39 in. (one meter) in height, the female short, sharp ones. The beauty of the ibex and the remarkable way it lives among the rocks of the desert have been used as poetic motifs (Job 39:1; Ps. 104:18); the name ya'alat ḥen (a graceful female ibex) is given to a beautiful woman (Prov. 5:19). Jael (Judg. 4:17) and Jaalah (Ezra 2:56), both derived from the Hebrew for ibex, occur in the Bible as women's names. A shofar made of the long horn of an ibex was blown in the Temple on the New Year (rh 3:3) and to proclaim the Jubilee year (rh 3:5).

bibliography:

I. Aharoni, Torat ha-Ḥai, 1 (1923), 85; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal Life in Palestine (1935), 112. add bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 239.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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ibex

ibex XVII. — L. ibex, prob. Alpine word like CHAMOIS.

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Markhor

Markhor

Capra falconeri

phylum: Chordata

class: Mammalia

order: Artiodactyla

family: Bovidae

status: Endangered, IUCN Endangered, ESA

range: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Description and biology

The markhor is one of the largest members of the goat family. An average markhor has a head and body length of 55 to 70 inches (140 to 195 centimeters) and a shoulder height of 26 to 40 inches (66 to 102 centimeters). Its tail measures 3 to 5.5 inches (8 to 14 centimeters). The animal may weigh between 70 and 240 pounds (30 and 110 kilograms). Males are substantially larger than females.

Male markhors have unique corkscrew-shaped horns that are very thick and heavy. They also have a large beard and a long, shaggy mane at the base of their neck. If a female has a beard, which is rare, it is small. The coat of both sexes varies in length and color with the seasons. In summer, a markhor's coat is short and reddish brown. In winter, it is long, silky, and gray.

Markhors are active during the day, grazing on grasses and herbs or browsing (feeding on the tender shoots, twigs, and leaves) on shrubs and low trees. Wolves, leopards, and snow leopards often prey on the markhor.

Males generally live by themselves, while females and young live in groups of 10 to 12. During the winter mating season, males compete with each other over the right to mate with females. After a gestation (pregnancy) period of about 155 days, a female markhor gives birth to one or two young.

Habitat and current distribution

Markhors inhabit rocky areas, open forested slopes, and meadows in the rugged mountains of central Asia. Their range extends from the western end of the Himalayas in northwestern India to southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

There are three subspecies of the markhor: the Kabal markhor (Capra falconeri megaceros), the straight-horned markhor (Capra falconeri jerdoni), and the Tajik markhor (Capra falconeri heptneri). Kabal and straight-horn markhors are found primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tajik markhors occupy southern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. With population numbers ranging from 700 to just over 3,000, all three subspecies are in danger of extinction.

History and conservation measures

Excessive hunting, primarily for the markhor's horns, is the main reason for the animal's decline. As the human population increases in the markhor's range, so does the destruction of its habitat. Trees are cut down for timber, forested land is cleared to create agricultural land, and domestic sheep and goats compete with the markhor for food.

Twenty-seven protected areas have been established in the markhor's range. The level of safety in these areas, however, is limited by political unrest and military activity in the region. In addition, most markhor populations are very small and often isolated from each other, making conservation efforts difficult.

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