Chamois in the snow close up
Ibex - Chamois
Ibex in the snow
Ibex - Chamois
Chamois close up
Ibex - Chamois
Chamois in the snow
Ibex - Chamois

“Sometimes there’s no running away”

It’s absolutely freezing - once again you have far too little to wear - you haven’t been able to feel your toes for ages and your fingers are icicles - every movement is twice as strenuous as normal. This is what it’s like for the ibex and chamois in winter - rapid flight in deep snow is impossible with chilled limbs.

© Tyrolean regional Government
grau weiße Schräge zur optischen Gestaltung.

Specific characteristics - lifestyle in winter

Ibex and chamois  behave in winter almost as reptiles and lower their metabolism  to burn body fat as energy-efficiently as possible, and their pulse rate drops to half of the summer level. Most of the day in winter, the animals remain largely motionless without disturbance in shelters protected from the wind.  In the morning they seek out the closest accessible exposed areas where the first rays of sunshine fall. There they slowly warm up in the sunlight and begin foraging. Later in the morning and at midday they rest and absorb more warmth. In the afternoon they then reach their actual functioning temperature and graze. 

In winter the animals’ movement and activity obviously reflect the ability of their muscles to function. The animals may want to flee when disturbed - but cannot do so quickly.

Close shot of an ibex.
Close shot of an ibex.
Ibex climbing up a steep rock.
Ibex climbing up a steep rock.

The consequences of being disturbed

There is a limit for the ibex to be able to sustain energy-consuming flight and, when its body temperature falls, it is often not able to at all. The consequences can be even more severe if being disturbed prevents the nocturnal lowering of its body temperature, because animals forced to take flight too often no longer dare reduce the blood supply to their extremities and thus their ability to flee – an obvious concern.

In this context animal retreats make an important contribution to habitat protection because they protect the wildlife from being disturbed in winter, which they need to be able to maximise their energy-saving potential.

Code of Conduct:

Animal species Peculiarities To be observed:
Chamois Live on steep sunny terrain where the snow slides off and flee to adjacent rocks is possible; are particularly sensitive if someone approaches them directly at high speed; sensitive to noise Do not approach them from above directly or quickly; do everything you can bypass obvious animal retreat areas; no unnecessary noise
Ibex loves snow-free, south-facing, rock-strewn terrain; flee only very slowly hardly any overlap with ski tours
All types of game Active at dusk If possible never tour at dusk and in all cases keep to forest roads and ski slopes. Observe local ski slopes rules!
© Tyrolean regional Government
Verschneiter Hochgebirgswald. Im Hintergrund mit Wolken bedecktes Tal.

Tyrolean Ski and Snowboard Tour Plan

We have worked intensively with environmentalists, hunters and conservation experts to draw up the Tyrolean Ski and Snowboard Tour Plan to investigate the impact of ski and snowboard tours on flora and fauna in the mountains.

If you need any further information about the protected sites and species and want to know how we came to choose them, you'll find all the basics in the Tyrolean Ski and Snowboard Tour Plan below, which is available for downloading.

 

Contact:

 

Anna Koch

Province of Tyrol - Department for Forestry Conservation

Bürgerstr. 36, 6020 Innsbruck

info@bergwelt-miteinander.at

Tel.: +43 512 508 4609

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