Saturday, 26 December 2015

Threatened mountain goat gets help from the skies


By Sylvia Smith
BBC News

25 December 2015 
From the sectionScience & Environment

Capra pyrenaica.jpgPopulations of Spanish ibex are being hit by a deadly disease. Now scientists are using drones and thermal cameras in an effort to conserve the mountain goat.

A herd of wild mountain goats leap and scatter at a sudden sound overhead. The scrubby, uneven terrain of the upper reaches of the Sierra de las Nieves national park is a protected area and the goats' natural habitat.

They have no trouble hiding themselves in among the rocks and clusters of bushes which may help when they are being hunted illegally.

But is it this ability to go to ground that has caused problems for scientists intent on managing the shrinking populations of Spanish ibex.mage copyrightThinkstockImage captionBut now a joint project of the University of Cordoba and the Junta de Andalucia is bringing together park rangers, vets and drone experts to find ways of dealing with outbreaks of deadly sarcoptic mange which has been devastating ibex populations in the Iberian peninsula.

The Spanish mountain goat is a species of ibex with four subspecies, of which two are now extinct and two which can still be found on the Iberian Peninsula in small pockets.

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