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Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Population size (Alkon et al. 2008)

  • Decreasing
  • Global population
    • Rough estimate: fewer than 2,500 mature individuals
    • Israel is home to the largest numbers
    • Saudi Arabia is likely home to significant numbers
      • Surveys needed
  • Few systematic surveys in most areas
    • Israel conducts annual, one-day surveys with supplemental aerial counts; begun in 1981

Conservation Status

IUCN Status

  • Vulnerable (2020 assessment) (Ross et al. 2020)

CITES Status

  • Not listed (UNEP 2018)

(Alkon et al. 2008)

  • Egypt
    • Protected by Agricultural law 53/I 966
      • Hunting forbidden
  • Israel
    • Fully protected
      • Vulnerable - within principal arid-zone range
      • Rare - Golan Heights
  • Oman
    • Fully protected
      • Ministry of Diwan Affairs, Ministerial Decision No. 4, 1976

Threats to Survival

Competition with other ungulates (from Alkon et al. 2008)

  • Domestic livestock
  • Camels
  • Feral donkeys

Limited access to waterholes (from Alkon et al. 2008)

  • Distribution of water fluctuates yearly; in Egypt and Israel
  • Contamination of some waterholes; reported in Israel

Hunting (from Alkon et al. 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Long history of hunting throughout distribution (Manlius 2001; Habibi 1994; Harrison 1968)
    • Animals often killed when near water sources (Habibi 1994)
  • Poaching occurs
    • Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen, and remote regions of Saudi Arabia

Habitat loss (from Alkon et al. 2008)

  • Expansion of roads and livestock encroachment

Management Actions

Safeguarded within protected areas (from Alkon et al. 2008)

  • Egypt
    • Gebel Elba Conservation Area
    • Assiut University Protected Area
    • Jabal (Gebel) Musa Wildlife Reserve
    • Jabal Katrina Wildlife Reserve
  • Sudan
    • Erkawit Sanctuary
    • Sinkat Sanctuary
    • Tokar Game Reserve
  • Eritrea
    • Yob Reserve
  • Israel
    • Nature Reserves Authority administers 15 officially designated or protected areas sheltering the species
    • Annual population surveys
  • Jordan
    • Wadi Mujhib Wildlife Reserve
    • Dana Wildlife Reserve
    • Jebel Masadi Wildlife Reserve
  • Yemen
    • Jabal al-Ara'is (proposed reserve)
  • Saudi Arabia
    • Tubayq Reserve
    • Ibex Reserve

Managed breeding programs (from Alkon et al. 2008)

  • In Jordan
    • Program initiated to augment a small relict population in danger of extirpation
      • Founders from San Diego Zoo Safari Park sent to Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve, 1989
        • Population reached 90 individuals by 1996
      • Reintroductions began in 1998
        • Stable population of c. 200 animals prompted the end of the program in 2006

Recommended actions (from Alkon et al. 2008)

  • Saudi Arabia
    • Enforce hunting ban and halt indiscriminate poaching
    • Establish contiguous reserves in the mountain chains of western Saudi Arabia (Habibi and Grainger 1990)
  • Egypt
    • Ensure full protection of Assiut University Protected Area
    • Create Gebel Elba National park; in coordination with the Sudanese government
  • Sudan
    • Conduct surveys to determine population size
      • Required for development of a comprehensive management plan
    • Increase protection to effective levels
    • Provide full legal protection; place species in Schedule I under the Wildlife Conservation Act
  • Eritrea
    • Conduct surveys to determine population size
      • Required for development of a comprehensive management plan
  • Israel
    • Develop formal management program or conservation biology plan for the ibex
    • Study population dynamics within the Judean desert and Negev highlands
    • Initiate research programs to explore genetic diversity among populations
    • Augment natural water sources for habitat improvement
    • Evaluate effects of tourists on ibex ecology
  • Jordan
    • Maintain strict measures of hunting control
    • Conduct surveys to determine population size
    • Determine sustainable levels of domestic livestock grazing within potential ibex habitat
  • Lebanon
    • Establish protected areas
    • Implement proposed reintroduction program
  • Oman
    • Conduct surveys to determine population size
    • Initiate ecological studies to enable development of appropriate conservation plans
    • Establish proposed protected areas
      • Janabah Hills, Janabah Coast, AZ Zahr, Arkad, Jabal Samhan, and Shuwaymiyah

Nubian Ibex

Ibex prince

Few systematic surveys have been conducted to determine global population size.

Most Nubian ibex live within the state of Israel, though significant numbers are also found in Saudi Arabia.

Image credit: © Prince Roy from Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Page Citations

Alkon et al. (2008)
Habibi (1994)
Habibi and Grainger (1990)
Harrison (1968)
Manlius (2001)

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