Mammals

Posted in Fauna

Cabras montesas en La MaliciosaIn the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park and in its Peripheral Protection Zone, there are 58 species of mammals. Six species are Iberian endemism (the Iberian hare, the Lusitanian pine vole, the Iberian shrew, the Iberian mole, the Pyrenean desman and the Cabrera’s vole). The Mediterranean mountains as the Sierra de Guadarrama are critical areas for the preservation of diversity and wealth regarding fauna in general and mammals in particular.

The cooling and the intensification of precipitation due to the height, make them islands having distinctive bioclimatic characteristics from the surrounding plains, very conducive for the reception of typically Euroasian species, such as the Pyrenean desman, the pygmy shrew, the common vole or the snowy vole. In addition, its relief and its wilderness areas have enabled the preservation of great sized species not finding adequate shelter in other areas, such as the European roe deer, the wildcat, the Euroasian otter or the European badger.

The taxon group contributing with most species to the mammal fauna in the National Park is the one of the bats (Chiroptera Order). It is responsible for the presence of 23 species among inventoried mammals, including the largest number of taxa classified under protection status, both to the regional and national level. Even so, the Pyrenean desman is the specie classified the highest protection status at national and regional level. This Iberian endemism was taken as extinct in the Sierra de Guadarrama, and currently maintains a small population on the National Park Segovian slope.

To the European level, the maximum protection status is held by the wolf: an emblematic specie recently living in the Sierra de Guadarrama, further to its extinction, occurred more than a century ago.  It is the only specie of mammal whose conservation is a priority at the European level and it is currently expanding in the Sierra de Guadarrama. From a decade, its existence in the Central System has been reported with several breeding groups in Segovia and Guadalajara provinces, which have served as a source of specimens to Madrid area, where there are also breeding evidences from a few years.

It is necessary to highlight the negative incidence of an invasive mammal, the American mink, coming from old fur farms that has acclimated successfully for decades in the Sierra de Guadarrama causing negative effects in populations under extinction threat, such as the Pyrenean desman, or in sharp decline, such as amphibia populations.  Since the introduction of American mink in Europe, the specie has become an ecological problem that implies its control need. The control methodology to date is generally based on the trapping of invasive populations.

Down below you can find a brief description of some National Park representative mammals:

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