The 11 species that have been saved thanks to Italian parks

24 parchi nazionali, 134 parchi regionali, 30 aree marine protette. Senza questi numeri molte specie sarebbero oggi estinte in natura.

During the 8th national congress of Federparchi (Italian Federation of Parks and Nature Reserves), held in northern Italy over the last days, encouraging, positive figures have emerged. Such data make Italy the country with the highest rate of biodiversity in Europe.


The Italian surface covered by national parks extends for 14,656 square kilometres, and including regional protected areas the surface represents 22% of Italy.




It is a paramount historical moment for the world of national parks,” said Giampiero Sammuri, president of Federparchi. “The protected areas are not only home to an inestimable natural heritage, but also to the identity of our country, and to a strategic asset to launch our economy and create jobs, in the name of quality, sustainable agriculture, culture, and traditions.”


Good news comes also from the new IUCN Red List of endangered birds: the ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca), the stone curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus), the black kite (Milvus migrans), and the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) are the species that improved their conservation status.




Italy is home to 55,600 animal species (30% of the European species) and 7,636 plant species (50% of the European species). “The protected areas demonstrated an outstanding ability to carry out projects and actions to protect nature,” added Giampiero Sammuri. “Thanks to our parks, some of these important species are not endangered anymore, and some others have been successfully reintroduced.”


Here are the 11 species that have been saved thanks to the Italian parks.

1. Griffon

It has been declared extinct in the 60’s. It disappeared due to poisoning, but today it can be admired whilst flying over the Nebrodi, the largest protected area of Sicily, southern Italy. Within the park, currently live over 100 individuals, descendant of some griffons reintroduced from Spain.


2. Apennine chamois

Almost extinct at the beginning of 20th century, today is popular in Appennine parks, with 2,000 individuals. The Appennine chamois is an endemic species. It lives exclusively within the parks of central Italy.


3. Osprey

It is a rare bird of prey present in Corsica and within the Maremma Park, since 2011. These fascinating birds live only on fish, and they are studied and safeguarded thanks to sophisticated distance cameras that allow following their life since their birth.


4. Alpine brown bear

Some years ago, there were only 3-4 brown bears left on the Adamello Brenta mountains. Today, there’s a community of about 40-50 individuals. Their presence reveals a healthy environment, with a complete and varied food chain. Moreover, the phenomenon of the spontaneous migration of bears coming from Slovenia keeps on.


5. Alpine ibex

The Alpine ibex was on the brink of extinction at the end of the 19th century. Currently is widely present in many Italian valleys. It is particularly protected by the Gran Paradiso National Park, it is in fact its symbol, and it is subject of several research and safeguard projects. This species is now present in the entire Alpine area.


6. Bearded vulture

Considered extinct at the beginning of the 20th century it is now present with a stable and self-sufficient population, thanks to a European project of reintroduction in many European countries. Some 150 individuals have been freed on the Alps, thanks to a programme that involved Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria.


7. Wolf

In the 70’s the wolf accounted to less than 100 individuals in Italy. Today, thanks to the institution of the parks, the population of wolves in Italy exceeds 1,000 individuals. 40 years ago, in Majella Park, the first radio-collar has been experimented.


8. Golden eagle

Once, it lived in temperate areas of Europe, in Northern Asia, North America, Northern Africa and Japan. In many of these regions, the golden eagle is still present just on mountain peaks, whilst over the last centuries it used to nest also in level grounds and forests. In Italy it is present on Alps, the Apennines, and in the areas surrounding the park.


9. Mediterranean Dusky Grouper

It lives in rocky sea bottoms from 10 to 150 metres of depth. The Mediterranean Dusky Grouper, like others of the Serranidae family, is an endangered species and it is in the IUCN Red List. In Italy, it is protected in the marine areas of Asinara, Tremiti, Egadi and in Portofino, whilst it is almost disappeared out such protected areas.


10. Monk seal

Despite monk seals are rarely spotted on our shores, these marine mammals, thanks to protection and fishery management policies, are now present in different areas and grottos of the Mediterranean Sea.


11. Marsican brown bear

The Marsican brown bear is the symbol of animal protection in Italy. It is endemic to Italy and still has a small number of individuals, according to the Italian red list drawn by Federparchi last year for the Ministry for the Environment.

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