Nov 4 - "Mind-Boggling" Pictures: Goats Scale Dam in Italy

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 11-04-2010, 10:39 AM         #1
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forsakenninja05 
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Nov 4 - "Mind-Boggling" Pictures: Goats Scale Dam in Italy
 

 
Gravity-Defying Goats


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Using moves that would make any rock climber jealous, Alpine ibex cling to a near-vertical rock face of a northern Italian dam in summer 2010.

This and other pictures of the goats have been circulating online recently, particularly in emails claiming the animals are bighorn sheep on Wyoming's Buffalo Bill Dam, the rumor-quashing website Snopes reported in September.

In truth, Adriano Migliorati snapped the pictures at the 160-foot-tall (49-meter-tall) Cingino Dam (see map of the region), the Italian hiker told National Geographic News via email. The goats are attracted to the dam's salt-crusted stones, according to the U.K.-based Caters news agency. Grazing animals don't get enough of the mineral in their vegetarian diets.

It's not far-fetched, though, to think such a scene could be photographed in the United States. For example, mountain goats could scale dams in the U.S. West, according to Jeff Opperman, senior advisor for sustainable hydropower at the U.S.-based nonprofit the Nature Conservancy.

Opperman, who called the Cingino pictures "mind-boggling," pointed out a picture of a Montana mountain goat doing an "incredibly acrobatic stretching maneuver to lick salt" in the November National Geographic magazine (eighth picture in this photo gallery).

"He is wedged up this sheer vertical cliff face, almost doing a yoga pose with four hooves splayed out there," he said. "It's the same concept [with the Italian goats]—these animals can overcome what looks like impossible topography to get what they want."

Opperman cautioned, though, that the Italian dam is rare, in that its rough masonry provides gaps that act as toeholds. The more common, smooth-concrete dams—such as Buffalo Bill Dam— would give goats anywhere in the world trouble, he said.

Goat-Dotted Dam


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Cingino Dam isn't completely vertical, allowing ibex—such as these goats pictured in summer 2010—to gain some purchase.

Adapted to their perilous environment, Alpine ibex have evolved a specialized split hoof, whose cleft is wider than on any other split-hooved species, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The hoof also has a hard wall that can grab on to steep cliffs and a soft, rubbery inside that serves as a "stopper" when the animal is pushed forward by gravity, the magazine reported.

And because dams are usually built in steep canyons, Cingino's steep rock face is likely nothing novel for the mountain-dwelling ibex, according to Opperman. (See dam pictures.)

Sometimes reaching heights of 16,000 feet (5,000 meters), the herbivores spend their lives scrambling the European Alps' rocky and steep terrain, according to Caters news agency.

A Dam Worth Its Salt


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By scaling Cingino Dam, salt-craving ibex, such as this animal pictured in summer 2010, are "showing ingenuity, taking advantage of this human-created thing in their environment," the Nature Conservancy's Opperman said.

Some other enterprising species can also work around dams in their habitats. For instance, eels can literally wriggle up some dams obstructing their paths, Opperman noted. But all too often dams act as barriers for wildlife, for example by blocking migrating salmon and other fish.

When we think about dams, it's often [about] these weighty issues," such as balancing energy needs with wildlife protection, Opperman added. The goat pictures are "a whimsical, comic relief to that."


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 "Mind-Boggling" Pictures: Goats Scale Dam in Italy

53 comments for "Nov 4 - "Mind-Boggling" Pictures: Goats Scale Dam in Italy"

 7 years ago '07        #2
TheIncomparable 
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wow thats crazy
 7 years ago '06        #3
da12nvx 8 heat pts
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un f**king real
 7 years ago '04        #4
ddash 1 heat pts
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Crazy

I would be waiting at the bottom with some curry,cabbage and plantains. LOL
 7 years ago '10        #5
Big Louie Champ 117 heat pts117
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Wow that is mind boggling
 7 years ago '04        #6
MosDefinition 19 heat pts19
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 MPLSallstar said:
Can be taken as an omen?
an omen for what that they like salt and theres not enough in the food they eat
 7 years ago '09        #7
Spiffy 34 heat pts34
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that is crazy
 11-04-2010, 12:38 PM         #8
Got Cheeve?  OP
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salt is highly addictive man... i know some nights i crave that s**t and gotta drive up to the store to get a bag of chips after i blaze up...

gotta have that salt.
 11-04-2010, 12:51 PM         #9
Ni2  OP
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didnt read, but how they gonna get over that lip that appears to be 10-20 yards from the top?

and im curious if that salt dehydrates them and then they fall to there death.


Last edited by Ni2; 11-04-2010 at 12:53 PM..
 7 years ago '10        #10
USC 79 heat pts79
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Impressive
 7 years ago '06        #11
Jersey826 5 heat pts
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HELL f**kIN YEAH!

Hey Goats:


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 7 years ago '06        #12
SM 38147 heat pts38147
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that's some crazy a.ss s**t
 7 years ago '07        #13
klepto 
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those goats on pcp
 7 years ago '05        #14
ReppinDaBurghh 55 heat pts55
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 Ni2 said:
didnt read, but how they gonna get over that lip that appears to be 10-20 yards from the top?

and im curious if that salt dehydrates them and then they fall to there death.
Good question.
 11-04-2010, 02:37 PM         #15
forsakenninja05  OP
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 Ni2 said:
didnt read, but how they gonna get over that lip that appears to be 10-20 yards from the top?

and im curious if that salt dehydrates them and then they fall to there death.
thats where ddash comes in
 11-04-2010, 03:47 PM         #16
Morphy  OP
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have any of them ever slipped?
 7 years ago '04        #17
Aesop730 14 heat pts14
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 ddash said:
Crazy

I would be waiting at the bottom with some curry,cabbage and plantains. LOL
 11-04-2010, 04:02 PM         #18
McVette  OP
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I bet when one falls the meat gets so tender>HAHAHAHA
 11-04-2010, 04:05 PM         #19
matrixixix  OP
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[video - click to view]

 7 years ago '08        #20
EMER1TUS 11 heat pts11
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 Ni2 said:
didnt read, but how they gonna get over that lip that appears to be 10-20 yards from the top?

and im curious if that salt dehydrates them and then they fall to there death.
Ha I was wondering the same thing...once at the top what next
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