Mountain Goats in North Cyprus

Mountain Goat

As autumn sets in and the colours of the landscape begir to change, you may wish to take a walk in the hills and low mountains of the island. On such walks there is a strong possibility that you will come across the friendly ightly obstinate but smart wild mountain goat. Th get close to iem one has to keep very quiet. If you wish to feed&hem, you gain have to be very careful, as this legendary creature is very articular in it feeding habits.

Along with the wild donkey, the mountain goat is one of the most mportant features of Northern Cypriot wildlife. They are most ~revalent in the Esentepe and Alevkayasi regions, as well as at the ip of the Karpaz peninsula. In these areas they can be seen roamir free, although they are sometimes tamed by local shepherds who entice them into the fold with food. They tend to be more irritable than the domestic variety and their colouring is also different from that of the domestic goat, which tends to be brown as opposed to the white, black and grey of the mountain goat.

Perhaps the most striking difference to be found is the beard of the mountain goat, which is much more pronounced and longer than that of the domestic variety Despite the similarities between the goat and domestic sheep, and its reputation for being obstinate, the mountain goat is considerably more intelligent than its not-w-distant relative. And although the mountain goat gives the impression of being a free and lonely individual, shepherds, through the use of training by putting bells around their necks, have found ways to tame and benefit from these animals. Most endearingly it is the mountain goats` long ears and shapely nose that cannot fail to give it an air of innocence.

Throughout the world there are a number of goat species Their coats vary in thickness and colour according to climatic conditions. However; it is not only appearance that is affected by climate behavioural patterns are also affected.

The many species of wild and domestic goats have for thousand ears provided man with milk, meat, skins and woo(. It is a ruminating, herbivorous mammal and the most skillful of climb `he goat closely resembles the sheep in that it is a small and erbivorous mammaL They can be either long- or short-haired ppear in a variety of colours depending on the species. Coats C ither horned or non-horned. They also may or may not have g ian ging from their necks. Most of them are bearded, and they wo teats for suckling their young. The weight of a mature goal goat which has reached and age of 18-30 months) changes `onsiderably between species. The female goat can range from Cg. and a male from 20-120 Kg. Goats in non-tropical areas of Northern Cyprus have an annual mating season, which in Non Cyprus occurs in autumn.

The mountain goats` eating habits are also of great interest are very fussy about what they will eat. They are particularly k :`n shrubs and new shoots and branches of trees - much more.` than other herbivores - which means that they can survive in a where other mammals cannot. With a world goat population of around 570 million, the mountain goat represents the sub-species in North Cyprus it is forbidden to hunt the mountain goat. If only that were the case worldwide...