Ibexes in an African Environment

Ecology and Social System of the Walia Ibex in the Simen Mountains, Ethiopia

  • Bernhard Nievergelt

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 40)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-IX
  2. Introduction

    1. Bernhard Nievergelt
      Pages 1-4
  3. The Simen, a Unique Afroalpine Community

  4. Methods, Techniques and Population Estimates

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Bernhard Nievergelt
      Pages 53-66
  5. The Niche and Habitat of the Walia Ibex, the Klipspringer and the Gelada Baboon

  6. The Social System of the Walia Ibex

  7. Conservational Outlook

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 171-171
    2. Bernhard Nievergelt
      Pages 173-177
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 179-192

About this book


The Caprinae are characteristic ungulates of palaearctic mountain regions. The Walia ibex, Capra ibex walie, a member of the Caprinae, has colonized successfully the Simen mountains in Ethiopia, and as such presents an interesting act in the history of the Caprinae. Apart from the question of how the Walia ibex or its ancestors ever reached the Simen mountains, the only place it occurs, I would like to stress a further point: about half of the existing ungulate species in the world are endemic to Africa. Eightyseven species of the Artiodactyla are reported to live in this continent, while there are only 17 in South America (Haltenorth 1963, Delany and Happold 1979). Such abundance of ungulate forms must have been attended by optimal utilization of the various habitats and form co-adaptation of sympatric species (Lamprey 1963, Bell 1970, Gentry 1970). Despite such intense com­ petition however, the Walia ibex found its natural niche still open. Obviously, its adaptations to living on steep cliffs have favoured its establishment over the already existing ungulate fauna in an afroalpine mountain area. In fact, none of the Cervids has achieved a similar successful colonisation on the African continent, even though they are much older as a group, and have already shown themselves to be well established on the American and Eurasian continents.


Fauna Simen /Biologie Steinbock Tierökologie environment

Authors and affiliations

  • Bernhard Nievergelt
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches InstitutUniversität Zürich Ethologie und WildforschungZürichSwitzerland

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-3-642-67960-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-67958-2
  • Series Print ISSN 0070-8356
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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