Meet Italy’s gravity-defying Alpine Ibex

Their extraordinary climbing ability evolved to protect them from predators. Now they use it to supplement their diet with salt.

You’ll find ibex in the most extraordinary places in Italy.

They use their soft, split hooves to grip surfaces like pincers and scale incredible heights, often on sheer surfaces.

Most of the time it’s to find food and protection high in the alps. But occasionally you’ll find them scaling man-made structures as well.

Like the face of the Cingino dam in Piedmont in northern Italy.

The wall of the dam is 50 metres high with a gradient that is almost vertical. 

The ibex clamber up the wall in search of salt that leaches out of the concrete.

Spring is the best time to witness this extraordinary spectacle. After a long hard winter, the ibexes’ need for salt is at its greatest.

And not just at Cingino. Daredevil ibexes have been seen scaling the walls of Barbellino dam in Lombardy and the Lago della Rossa dam in Piemonte as well.

Main image: An Alpine Ibex in the mountains of Italy (© Stefano Zocca/Unsplash)

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If it's wild, evocative or thought-provoking, these guys will track it down.

1 Comment

  • Sonia
    4 months ago Reply

    I saw similar goats in Crete. They always looked like they were hanging from the cliff, as if glued there defying the gravity.

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