Niue, Swiss Wildlife Capricorn $2 Coin, 2014, Silver, MINT
The ibex was greatly prized in former times for its medicinal powers: almost all its body parts, and even its dung, were in demand for traditional cures for all manner of diseases. It paid the price: it was hunted to extinction in the first half of the 19th century. It was reintroduced to the Swiss National Park, other herds live in cantons Valais and Bern. In total there are some 15,000 animals in different parts of Switzerland. The male can weigh up to 100 kg (220 lb), and stands up to one meter (over three feet) high at the shoulder. It has two large curved horns with horizontal ridges. The age of the animal can be determined by the number of ridges: in general it grows two ridges in one year. The horns can grow up to one meter in length and weigh more than 10 kg (22lb).The ibex, which usually lives above the tree line, has hooves well adapted to its habitat: they have a hard rim surrounding a soft inner part, enabling it to grip the rock and gain a good foothold even in the steepest places. Its back legs are longer than the front ones. Perhaps surprisingly for such a large animal, the ibex is a good jumper, able to leap several meters upwards and forwards from a standing position.
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