Natural Viewpoint of the Spanish Ibex or Wind Pass (Puerto del Viento)
From this viewpoint we have a perfect panoramic view, besides ofbeing an excellent place for bird watching .
The views to the northwest reach the city of Ronda, to the southeast offer the first glimpse of the northern part of the natural park between Pico Blanquilla (to the right ) and Port of Empedrados (to the left).
One of the most emblematic animals of the mountainous region of the Serranîa de Ronda is the Spanish Ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica). It is a wild hoofed endemic of the Iberian Peninsula, which was on the point of extinction half a century ago. Four of the described ibex subspecies, two are considered to be died out, the third one can be found in La Sierra de Gredos, and the forth one, which is seen in Andalusia, is commonly called as Ronda ibex, because this region is one of the natural shelters of the species and pioneer in the preservation of this Ibex as a hunting species.
Its adaptation to the mountain environment is spectacular; it moves with amazing easiness through crags and cliffs, being a symbol of adaptation to the roughest and wildest life. 30,000 out of 40,000 Spanish Ibex are located in Andalusia. It is calculated that 4,000 specimens live in this place, a 10% of the whole population.
The ibex are animals with gregarious character, which form herds by sex; on the one hand, males with different ages, and on the other hand, females with their litters. Males’ herds are more numerous, with more than 100 specimens, and in autumn, during the rut period, they look for the females’ herds. When the mating period arrives, the fi ghts between males’ ibex consist of crashing their horns, which can be up to one metre long, to dissolve the reproductive capacity of the rival.
The species show differences between males’ and females’ ibex, in other words, sexual dimorphism. The female specimen is smaller (40 kg as against 75 kg of the male one), their horns are shorter (about 25 cm) and their fur does not have the characteristics black spots that the oldest male specimens have.
Both of them can reach 20 years old; the age can be seen in the number of horn growth rings. Young goats are born after fi ve months of pregnancy, between March and June, when grass is more plentiful and tender.
Nowadays, the Spanish Ibex is more numerous and dispersed, settling on new territories. They have not almost any natural predator but there is an illness, called sarcoptic mange, which has killed many goats. Overcrowding and poor health conditions increase the virulence of the illness. The suitable density of these herbivores is one specimen in each hectare, in order to have a good recuperation of the vegetation and to be able to support a healthy population. For that reason, the species is considered as Vulnerable according to the Spanish National Catalogue of threatened Species (Catálogo Nacional de Especies Amenazadas).
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