Walia ibex (Capra walie)
The walia ibex, a member of the goat family, weighs 80 - 125 kg (180 - 280 lb). It dwells on steep cliffs between 2500 - 4500 m (8200 - 14,750') in regions characterized by rocky mountains, gorges, outcrops and loose stony screes. It depends on undisturbed juniper and other mountain forest, subalpine grasslands and scrub, and a year-round supply of water. The walia ibex eats bushes, herbs, lichens, shrubs, grass, and creepers. It is mainly crepuscular. Males tend to form larger groups than females (except during the rut). Females form nursery groups during the birth season, rather than becoming solitary as do many ungulates. It has been suggested that this may be due to the risk of attack from large birds of prey (e.g. eagles and vultures).
As far as is known, the walia ibex has always had a restricted range in Ethiopia. It has been found only in the Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia in recent times. It formerly was distributed throughout these mountains, but it underwent a significant decline between 1920 and 1970. The greatest concentration now occurs within the Simien Mountains National Park, mainly along 25 km (16 mi) of the northern escarpment.
Reasons for its decline include hunting by local people for meat and hides and for horns for drinking vessels. Its inaccessible habitat provided protection until the advent of modern firearms, which led to a significant reduction in the population. In addition, habitat loss due to increasing use of land for cultivation and development has occurred. With the creation of the Simien Mountains National Park around 1970, poaching appeared to be brought under control. A major conservation problem is that the remaining natural habitat is extremely limited.