Death defying goats

The full copy from my goat story which appeared in The Mirror and The Daily Mail.

Balanced 35 metres above the ground, a herd of sure-footed mountain goats climb an almost vertical dam in search of salt.ibexes 01

Photographer Paolo Seimandi, 34, captured the amazing photos which show the death-defying creatures perched precariously on the face of a dam in the Gran Paradiso National Park in northern Italy.

It is thought the herd of Alpine Ibexes climbed the sheer face of the 45-metre-tall dam to lick at the stonework in search of mineral salts which filter through the blocks.

Mr Seimandi witnessed the goats climb 35 metres above Lake Valsoera while he was out walking in the Western Alps.

Mr Seimandi, a keen climber himself, saw the animals make their way up the stone face of the dam.

He said: “I have some rock climbing experience so I know what it means to climb, but still I was really impressed by their balance and skill.

“If I’m being honest I don’t think I could climb that wall without any gear, particularly not at the speed with which the ibexes manage it.

“All my respect goes to the Gran Paradiso ibexes.”

Alpine Ibexes are often seen leaping and climbing among the rocks in the mountain region, but Mr Seimandi said the climb he witnessed was something he had never seen before.

ibexes 03“I’m not new to these mountains and to their wildlife, but I had never seen such an amazing performance before,” he said.

“It seems like ibexes are very greedy. They love the salt that filters through the blocks of the dam, and that is a good enough reason for them to climb all they way up there.

“I’ve seen some of them climbing on the steepest part of the wall.

“The young ones follow their mothers in crazy runs along the dam. They’re absolutely fearless.”

Mr Seimandi, a keen wildlife photographer from Turin, Italy, had to hide himself a cave next to the imposing dam to the get the shots.

He said: “The only way to take the photos was to climb a narrow rift by the wall and hide myself in a hole.

“It’s always an issue to get close to wild animals, and I had to get as close as I could since I only had a wide angle lens, but it was well worth the wait in that uncomfortable place.

“The young ones were a little bit shy. After they noticed me they disappeared, running across the dam in a flash. It took a while to get them back in my viewfinder.”

The moment was captured at the dam of Lago Di Valsoera in northern Italy on August 31, 2013.ibexes 02

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