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Our exceptional fauna

Animals in the Park

The chamois, symbol of Alpi Marittime Nature Park (PNAM archive).

In a relatively small space the Maritime Alps host an exceptional concentration of animal and plant species. There are many factors that contribute to make these mountains a biodiversity hot-spot of international importance: the geographic position on the border between Mediterranean and Alpine environments, the proximity of soils of completely different origin and chemical make-up, a montane climate often influenced by humid sea breezes and Mediterranean high pressure, and the large variety of extremely diversified micro-environments.

The number of animal species present is estimated at around 6,000, and it continues to increase thanks to the discovery of new species belonging to the less showy groups, for example arthropods (which include spiders and crayfish, among others). Of the 90 mammal species found in Central Europe, 55 are present in the Maritime Alps, including 20 species belonging to the order Chiroptera, or bats.

Typically Alpine species like ibex (Capra ibex), mountain hare (Lepus timidus), stoat (Mustela erminea) and snow vole (Chionomys nivalis) are found in the Park side by side with species more usually associated with the Mediterranean and plains environment, like the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), boar (Sus scrofa) and mouflon (Ovis musimon); all of them find a suitable habitat.

Birds can be spotted in various habitats in the Park, woods, rock-faces, lakes, alpine meadows, rocks and scree, bushes. Of the 200 species found, over a hundred nest here: the majestic Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos) the little dipper (Cinclus cinclus), the elusive ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and the brightly coloured rock creeper (Tichodroma muraria). The reptile species (8) and the amphibians (4) are quite plentiful for an alpine environment, thanks to the influx of warm sea air. We can truthfully say that few european protected areas can boast a quantity and variety of animal species to compare with that of Alpi Marittime Nature Park.

Ungulates

Not just chamois and ibex

All six ungulate species present in the Alps are found in the Maritime Alps: as well as chamois, ibex and roe deer, we also find boar, red deer and mouflon.

The wolf in the Maritime Alps

The spontaneous return of a large predator

Wolves disappeared from the Alps at the beginning of the 20th century. At the end of the 1980s, a few wolves began to move north from the Abbruzzi Apennines...

Other mammals in the Park

There is a rich biodiversity of other mammals in the Park, too.

Birds

Nesting, passing through and returning.

From 1906 to date 200 bird species have been registered in the Park and adjacent area.

Reptiles in the Park

Some run, some slither

There are 8 species of reptile in the Park, the commonest is the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), which can be seen everywhere in summer, particularly on old buildings and rocks. Less common is ...

Fish

The fish in the lakes and rivers

There is not a great variety of fish species in the rivers and lakes in the Park and the natural population has been modified over the years by frequent stocking with hatchery trout. In recent years ...

Invertebrates

A world of species to discover

Although most people notice the larger and more active species like mammals or birds, actually Earth is the invertebrates' world, both for the number of species present, and for the inestimable quantity ...


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