Ponga mountains - Fauna

Wildlife consists of the same species as in the surrounding mountains, but due to good levels of nature conservation within Ponga Natural Park, diversity and numbers are reportedly higher.

The European brown bear ("oso pardo") can very occasionally be seen in the southern reaches of the park, and with a greater frequency than in the neighbouring Picos de Europa, but don't hold your breath. The Spanish populations of this rare and secretive mammal are in danger of extinction, due to illegal hunting and habitat loss. Wolves also appear in Ponga, but are rarely sighted or even heard by visitors. In contrast, foxes and wild boar abound.

The rivers are home to otters, and also the scarce but interesting "Pyrenean desman" (Glamerys pyrenaicus), also known as the water mole, a small semi-aquatic mammal that livesin mountain streams of the Iberian Peninsula. Another species of noteis the Lepus castroviejo hare, endemic to a particular section of the Cordillera Cantabrica, which is abundant in the fields and moorlands from 1000 to 1900 maltitude. It is smaller than the European hare, which is also foundin the park.

Red deer are numerous in the forests, and this is a good area to hear the males roaring during their autumn rutting season. Roaring is heard mainly at dawn and dusk, with the loudest most frequent roars attracting most females. Smaller roe deer also inhabit the forests, while agile chamoix live in the heights ofthe mountains.

Ponga Natural Park enjoys a wealth and diversity of birdlife. Capercaillie of the western subspecies (Tetraourogallus cantabricas) are at present still found here, though numbers in Spain have dropped 70% over the last quarter century. Black woodpeckers and middle spotted woodpeckers both inhabit the park. Birds of prey include the golden eagle and the goshawk, and both Egyptian and griffon vultures can bealso seen. Mountain species such as the snow finch and grey partridgecan be found in the higher reaches of the park.

For more information on the PONGA MOUNTAINS select any of the following topics:

Introduction
Climate
Culture
Geography
Geology
Walking Ponga
Tourist Attractions
Driving Itiniraries
Further Information