Bruno D'Amicis - Chamois chase


Only a few hundreds Tatra chamois still survive in the homonymous mountain range between Poland and Slovakia. I desperately needed some good chamois shots for my book project about the wilderness of Tichá Valley and wanted to pursue these animals during the autumnal rut to get some behavior on film. The mating season for the chamois across the whole range of the species usually falls between November and December. Even the beginning of November, in the Tatras, usually means a lot of snow… To reach the ridge where I spotted a little herd of chamois, I had to hike for more than 4 hours, in knee-deep snow and with temperatures well below zero. Every three steps, I thought of heading back. Before approaching the wary animals, it took some time to let them accustomed to my presence (in the meanwhile, the slope was so steep and slippery, that I had to lay on my belly!) In a bit less than three hours I could witness all the antics related to the rut and the peak of action was reached when a male started chasing off a competitor from the herd of females: they run up and down in 5 minutes a slope it would have took a person half day to climb. As the day was ending it was time for me to go back: I then realized the whole slope was frozen and very dangerous. I finally arrived much later dinner time, and I was exhausted but happy

Location: Slovakia

Tags: bruno damicis, endangered, mountains, rupicapra rupicapra tatrica, tatra, tatra chamois, winter

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  1. Werner said:

    15/02/2011 16:38

    What a great adventure. Must be a very special feeling to be at such a remote place all alone in the mountains and watch these amazing and endagered animals. Bruno, I really admire you for that kind of work!

  2. Luciano e Gabriele said:

    15/02/2011 20:21

    ciao Bruno!
    I'm togheter Gabriele and we are commenting your picture....
    the chamois is really exiting, specially TRUE, now we await you
    for a TRUE image of black grouses.... :)

  3. Sandra said:

    15/02/2011 23:37

    I like the intensity of the scene ... you've just captured the excatly right moment.

  4. Sven Zacek said:

    16/02/2011 20:35

    Amazing photo of amazing behaviour. I have seen how they jump and run on a video clip and it really is mind blowing. For example if a I would jump from the cliff as the chamois in the picture is jumping then that would probably be my last jump ever. And even so the chamois that has landed looks like hit has broken all its four legs, but no.

  5. Meelis Kivirand said:

    16/02/2011 21:06

    Seen this photo before, it`s still enchants me. Amazing!

  6. Jaak said:

    21/02/2011 15:12

    What a chase! The background mountainside with trees give additional dimension on the true steepness of the slope and that one is actually jumping down...

  7. Marcin Zagorski said:

    06/03/2011 14:40

    Perfect timing!!! I like the fact that this is an "open" image showing not only the animal but also its environment.

  8. Renate said:

    20/04/2011 21:16

    This literally made my jaw drop!