The heat thus threatens the ibex: they move at night and expose themselves to predators

Dangerous night escape. One of the symbolic animals of our mountains, the ibex able to climb rocks between impossible slopes, is today directly threatened climate crisis. The increasingly higher temperatures at high altitudesin addition to guaranteeing a change to the landscape, which, like this winter, increasingly lacks snow accumulation, they are in fact pushing Capricorns to be more nocturnal and less diurnal.

Usually these ungulates with large horns, wild goats, which inhabitAlpine arch but also some areas Apenninesthey start their days very early: their life is during the day in search of food among the peaks, but the new temperatures dictate global warming triggered by man, they are now changing their habits, which leads them to move even at night, exposing themselves to predators such as wolves.


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New risks to ibex have been highlighted by research fromUniversity of Ferrara who analyzed the heat response of these animals in areas where the wolf occurs, such as Gran Paradiso National Parkand where the predator does not currently occur, such as in a Swiss national park.

In both areas, researchers explain, “the need to live in ideal thermal conditions is more important than the risk of being a victim. This could also mean that climate change – in the long term – could be really dangerous not only for ibex, but also for other species poorly adapted to higher temperatures.”

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Other studies, such as the ibex population census in Monviso Park, have shown a possible decline in the number of these animals (148 from an average of 170 at the beginning of 2024), data that experts say could also be linked by the user little snowas well as the conditions of the new climate.

In research from the University of Ferrara, scientists draw attention to this ungulates in warmer conditions tend to move to areas less suitable for their survival and also increase nocturnal activity and consequently the risk of predation.

To be further women are especially exposed whereas “the increase in nocturnal activity in relation to temperature is similar for males and females, but males weigh about half as much as males and have decidedly smaller horns, so they face a higher risk of predation”.


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The new conditions, which lead the ibex to be more mobile and nocturnal than in the past, also provide important clues to humans in their efforts to protect the animals. If censuses become more difficult over time, as it becomes more difficult to find and count ungulates during daylight hours, particular attention will need to be paid in particular to reducing the sources of stress for these feral goats, e.g. reducing the presence of tourists in the areas most used by ibex or the avoidance of helicopter overflights” the experts explain, agreeing that further studies on animal activity will be necessary.

As the professor comments Stefano Grignolio from the Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, which oversaw the study with the contribution of the University of Sassari and two protected areas, “our research highlights another consequence global warming that will force some diurnal species to be active at nightreceiving an increase in predation risk: the ultimate consequences of these changes in the behavior of diurnal species are not yet clear to us and we will need to understand whether they could threaten the conservation of these species”.

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