The Alpine Ibex enclosure at Hellabrunn Zoo gained two new members…Trapattoni and Theo. Born in late May and June, the two kids are said to be enthusiastically exploring the rocky terrain in their exhibit.
Within just one hour after birth, an Alpine Ibex kid is able to follow its mother on rock cliffs. As they grow, so will their horns, which will reach over 1 meter long by the time they become adults. Large and backwards-curving, male horns are used to defend their territory and compete for the right to breed with available females. During fight rituals a male will challenge his rival by rearing up on his hind legs and using his horns to ram his opponent with great force.
It will still be a while before the young Ibex at Hellabrunn are ready to assert their authority, but visitors will be able to see them practicing with their horns, which at present are only a few centimeters long.
"A visit to the Alpine Ibex enclosure is definitely worthwhile,” said Rasem Baban, zoological director at Hellabrunn Zoo. “It’s always interesting to watch the little kids test their courage and try new things."
In the mid-19th century, the Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex) was on the verge of extinction, primarily due to the demand for their curved horns and fur as coveted hunting trophies. Less than 100 individuals remained, at that time, and were only to be found in the Gran Paradiso National Park in northern Italy. The population has since recovered thanks to conservation efforts over the years. Today, the species is no longer classified as endangered.
There are currently five populations of Alpine Ibex in Germany, including the regions of Bayrischzell, the Allgäu Alps, and the Benediktenwand.
Hellabrunn Zoo is currently home to nine Alpine Ibex. In addition to the two kids and their mothers, there are four more females and one breeding male.
The Alpine Ibex enclosure at the Zoo is located halfway between the Isar entrance and the new Mühlendorf village.