Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra

Common Name(s)





Chamois occur on a wide range of sub/alpine habitats, while steeps site with adequate shelter, food and breeding sites are preferred. They are most abundant within 300m of treeline. They are herbivorous, mainly feeding on grasses and woody plants, including, Poa spp., Agrostis spp., Astelia spp., Carmichaelia spp., Chionochloa spp., Coprosma spp., Griselinia spp., Ranunculus spp., Melicytus spp. and Weinmannia spp..


Similar body size to goat with longer legs, neck and larger hooves. Males are generally heavier, have a thicker winter coat and a distinct dark, urine-stained pizzle area.

Similar Species

In New Zealand Chamois might be confused with Himalayan tahr (Hermitragus jemlahicus) or Feral goat (Carpa hircus)

Threat To Plants

Browsing of species may alter species regeneration (e.g. Griselinia littoralis, Weinmannia racemosa) and vegetation composition.


Widespread throughout the high country in the South Island, most abundant between Wanganui and the Karangarua River. Absent from the North Island and surrounding offshore Islands.

Year Introduced

1907 (Mount Cook area)

Colonisation History

First introduced to New Zealand as a gift from the Emperor Franz Josef II of Austria to the New Zealand Government in 1907 and 1914. These 10 individuals were released near Mount Cook and quickly spread along the alpine chain and reach Fiordland in the 1970s. Today, they are still colonising new range in the north-west of Nelson.