The ibex is the pride and symbol of the Alps. He is a climbing artist like no other animal in the harsh world of the mountains. I was an eyewitness to how light-footed and elegant the ibex moves almost effortlessly even in the steepest rock faces of the Swiss Alps. A real champion in the truest sense of the word and yet the ibex seems so modest and sensitive in a way. At least I had the impression when I stood in front of him, the shy and impressive „power package“ of the Swiss mountains. Like a true king in his kingdom, which he rules with great respect, always for the benefit of all his conspecifics.
The ibex is an imposing animal when you face it in the high alpine mountains of Switzerland. I will never forget this memorable day when I was able to meet the ibexes in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Switzerland. At an altitude of about 2200m above sea level, we hiked along the rocks towards a high plateau, where ibexes have already been sighted. I got my camera ready and saw two horns sticking out from behind a rock in the distance. As I got closer, I saw him, the king of the Alps, enjoying the quiet morning mood togehter with his friend.
I was deeply touched but also amazed at how impressive the ibex was standing there and enjoyed the morning silence, it seemed. He didn’t let me bother him at all and I was able to get closer to him step by step. My breath caught and I was simply fascinated by this unique beauty in the wild alpine landscape of Switzerland. It was the greatest wish I had for the year 2022 to see ibexes in the wild nature of the swiss alps where they definitely belong in all their glory and it came true here before my eyes in a breathtaking way.
In the Alps, the ibex lives at the height between the forest and ice border. He climbs up to heights of 3500 m. In winter, however, it stays at lower altitudes than in summer, and even in summer it often descends to alpine meadows to feed while spending the night at high altitudes.
How the “King of the Alps” returned to his throne:
The story of the ibex is a success story of a reintroduction. The «King of the Alps» was almost exterminated in the entire Alpine region by the beginning of the 19th century. Today, more than 40,000 ibexes inhabit the Alpine arc again, around 17,000 of these proud animals live in Switzerland.
The reason for the extinction of the majestic ibex was not only trophy hunting and game, but also the healing properties attributed to the horns, hair, blood and “bezoar balls”. The latter are small balls of hair and plant remains in the stomach of the ibex. They were sold in pharmacies in the hope of alleviating dizziness, fainting, jaundice and melancholy. Only about a hundred animals survived. Thanks to a successful reintroduction program, the alpine ibex has now returned to its habitat.
Animals, like us, feel joy, love, fear, and suffering, but they cannot speak out. It is our duty to act as proxies and to resist those who exploit, slaughter and torture them.
- Denis de Rougemont
The beauty of Switzerland: