The Chamois: Symbol of Monte Generoso
The colony of chamois present on Monte Generoso originates from the 60s when several were released there. Today there are about 300-350 animals, all prospering and in good health. The chamois is a hoofed animal of medium size. The weight of a male adult varies between 35 and 50 kg. Both sexes have horns, the males being more curved. In the summer, the colour of the hair is light brown, while in winter it becomes dark brown. Chamois live generally in groups of varying sizes depending on the season. The more numerous herds are composed mostly of females and the young one or two years old. The babies, as a rule one per female, are born between April and May, after about 23 weeks of gestation. The colony regulates its numbers and when the density of population increases, the sexual maturity of the females is delayed, causing a rise in the percentage of females without a kid. The chamois feeds mainly on grass. In the summer, leaves are added to this and, in winter, pine buds, broad leaves and miniature shrubs.
The Chamois is one of a few indigenous mammals with a mainly daytime activity making it easier to observe. In no other part of Switzerland can it be observed at such close quarters. The Monte Generoso colony of chamois is not afraid of man. It does not run further away than an instinctive 10 to 30 metres.
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