Alpine chamois arrived in New Zealand in 1907 as a gift from the Austrian Emperor, Franz Joseph I. The first surviving releases were made in the Aoraki/Mount Cook region and these animals gradually spread over much of the South Island.
In New Zealand, hunting of chamois is unrestricted and even encouraged by the Department of Conservation to limit the animal's impact on New Zealand's native alpine flora.New Zealand chamois tend to weigh about 20% less than European individuals of the same age, suggesting that food supplies may be limited.As their meat is considered tasty, chamois are popular game animals. Chamois have two traits that are exploited by hunters. The first is that they are most active in the morning and evening when they feed. The second trait is that chamois tend to look for danger from below. This means that a hunter stalking chamois from above is less likely to be observed and more likely to be successful. In summer, the fur has a rich brown colour which turns to a light grey in winter. Distinct characteristics are a white face with pronounced black stripes below the eyes, a white rump and a black stripe along the back. Chamois can reach an age of 20 years.
Female chamois and their young live in herds; adult males tend to live solitarily for most of the year. During the rut which is May in New Zealand, males engage in fierce battles for the attention of unmated females. An impregnated female undergoes a gestation period of 20 weeks, after which a single kid is born. The kid is fully grown by three years of age