The chamois are an interesting breed of mountain-dwelling animals. They live on the snowy peaks of mountains in the summer, descending to the foot of the mountains in winter. They inhabit Europe and Western Asia. Long ago they lived in the Swiss Alps.

They are somewhat like a goat and somewhat like an antelope. The females and kids travel in herds. The chamois have reddish-brown hides with a distinctive black tail, horns, and a black stripe down their backs. In the winter their fur turns dark brown. Their head is a pale yellow with a black band spanning from the nose to the ears around the eyes. They have round, smooth horns that go straight up and curve back at the top. Chamois weigh about 110 pounds and are 30 inches tall. Their diet consists of almost any green plant.

Franz Joseph I gave chamois as a gift to New Zealand in 1907, and the chamois soon spread. Today, hunting the chamois in New Zealand is not only unrestricted but encouraged for fear of the plant growth diminishing. The meat of the chamois will make a tasty morsel, but it is the hide that the hunters seek because it is so smooth and absorbent; many people will pay generously for the furs. It also makes a very good cleaning or polishing buffer because it does not leave marks. These mountainous creatures are very interesting.