The Extinction of Pyrenean Ibex

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Pyrenean ibex was one of the four subspecies of the Iberian wild goat or Spanish ibex which is a species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. Its scientific name is (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) and is commonly known as bucardo in Spanish. Pyrenean ibex was common during the Upper Pleistocene, within which their morphology, primary some skulls, were found to be larger than some Capra subspecies from the same time in southwestern Europe. This species was most common in the Cantabrian Mountains, Southern France and the Northern Pyrenees. It became extinct in January 2000 .

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Pyrenean ibex formed part of the useful resources to humans. Increased continuous hunting of this species was the major cause of its extinction. Its inability to compete for food with other species also paused as a major challenge to its existence. Competition with wild and domestic ungulates, whereby much of its range was shared with domestic goats, sheep, horses and cattle, especially during summer in the high mountains pastures contributed to its extinction. The overgrazing and interspecific competition affected the ibex, especially in the dry years. The introduction of non-native wild ungulate species such as fallow deer and mouflon in the areas occupied by ibex led to a drastic increase in the grazing pressure and spread the risk of transmission of both exotic and diseases native. Thus, the inability to compete for food with other species, infections and diseases and poaching led to the extinction of Pyrenean ibex.

Biodiversity, the web of life, is of much essence in the ecosystem and as such the extinction of even the smallest creatures directly affects human life. Extinction poses a threat to normal life as nature is endangered owing to the fact that every animal or plant plays a vital role. Extinction of Pyrenean ibex as a competitor did not necessarily lead to expansion and higher densities of subordinate species. Ecological processes disrupted by extinction lead to cascading and catastrophic extinctions. Animals have a close interaction with the plants they depend on. The two result in interdependence in plant reproduction and dispersal with animal nutrition hence, extinction causes jeopardy from the habitat degradation. The Pyrenean ibex maintained the grassland by breaking up the soil, increasing its fertility by adding manure. Their extinction makes it less productive

The human habits mostly affected the Pyrenean ibex and led to its extinction. Stopping poachers from hunting this species would have gone a long way in keeping it in existence. Realizing its inability to compete should have called for preserving its environment ensuring the species was safe from competitors particularly during the dry years.


BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Dubin, M. S. (2004). The rough guide to the Pyrenees. New York; London; Delhi: Rough Guides.

Goudie, A. (2000). The human impact on the natural environment. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Joosten, T. (2013). The Pyrenean Haute Route. Milnthorpe: Cicerone Press.

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