Living out in the wild can be tough, and the great measures that wild animals will go to in order to survive completely blows our minds.
Animals may have to fend for food or water in extreme conditions that put themselves at risk of danger, or even death.
But it’s a price they’re willing to pay so that they can survive. Ironically, some animals have to risk death in order to stay alive.
A spectacular video of a group of ibexes scaling a dam was posted onto YouTube by BBC.
In an extract taken from Forces of Nature with Brian Cox, we are given a fascinating insight into the lives of the mountain goats, who live near a dam in Italy.
The clip begins by showing us the wall of the huge dam. Brian explains that the rock that was used to build this great structure contains essential minerals that have been dissolved in water.
The ibexes need these minerals to stay strong, and amazingly, they’ll scale a dam to get them.
As the ibexes begin their dangerous descent up the almost-vertical wall, a wildlife expert tells us,
“Their desire for salt is so strong that even faced with this sheer drop, their need is overwhelming.”
This is because without these salts and minerals, the ibex’s bones won’t grow and their nervous systems and muscles cannot function. It really is a life or death situation, whether the ibex decides to scale the dam or not.
But it isn’t just the adult ibex who scale the wall.
Brian tells us that there’s a strong bond between the mother and the kid, and the kid will follow her wherever she goes. Even if that means going up a wall that’s hundreds of feet high!
But the kid seems cautious, and a little unpracticed. As he steps onto the first stone, one of his hooves slips and he falls back to the ground.
This is going to be an incredibly tense journey.
When the camera pans down from above, we are able to see just how high the dam is. It makes us feel dizzy just looking at it!
Their bodies are specially adapted to climb, but we can’t help holding our breath as we watch their ascent.
Can you see the two mountain goats?
After several tense minutes, the goats eventually reach their destination and drink thirstily from the water in the rock. When the camera pans in close, it’s difficult to remember just how terrifyingly high they are.
These goats have no fear!
The ibexes will stay up here until they’ve taken in enough of the nutrients that they need. We wouldn’t want to find out how they get down again!
It’s fascinating to see the lengths that some animals have to go to in order to survive. The wildlife expert sums things up pretty well, saying:
“When I see a steep slope, I’m terrified… but then I’m no ibex!”
Too right. And we’re very glad about that.
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