The chamois – daring the mountain heights

There’s absolutely no doubt that the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) is one of the most daring animals we can spot in Romania.

Chamois overlooking the area

Photo: Kinga Mihaly

It is a species of goat-antelope native to the mountains in Europe but also in Turkey and the Caucasus. Some species of chamois are strictly protected in Europe.

Two chamoix on a meadow

Photo: Kinga Mihaly

The chamois in Romania live at high altitudes, between rocky cliffs and climbing the steep edges of the mountains. They live in herds up to 15-30 individuals; however, this social structure changes according to seasons. For instance, during Summer, one individual is constantly looking for predators and immediately raises the alarm if there is a threat around. Therefore, the chamois are very cautious when having people around. However, in some areas, they are accustomed to seeing tourists nearby and get close to the mountain huts.

However, during Winter, the groups are lead by a male chamois but it has been reported that there can be mixed groups as well.

For instance, the photos that illustrate this article are taken from a distance of around 20-30 meters away from the animals. We prefer to keep the location for ourselves, in order to keep away the hunters…

During the winter, their fur is dark brown and lightens during spring and summer, when it becomes light brown.

Chamois climbing

Photo: Kinga Mihaly

Mating season is in November and after about 6 months of gestation, the kids are born. This happens usually from the end of May until the beginning of June. At the age of 3, the chamois become adults and if they are not hunted or killed by predators like lynx, wolves or bears, they can live up to 15 or 20 years. Because of the nature of the terrain they prefer, they often die from falling off high cliffs or even from fallen rocks.