Spain // Cantabria and Asturias //

Wildlife in the Picos


Wildlife is a major attraction in the Picos de Europa. In the Cares Gorge, you may well see griffon vultures, black redstarts and ravens, though birdwatchers keep a special eye out for the red-winged, butterfly-like flight of the diminutive wallcreeper, named for the mouse-like way it creeps along the vertical cliff faces. Wild and domestic goats abound, with some unbelievably inaccessible high mountain pastures. Wolves are easy to imagine in the grey boulders of the passes, but bears, despite local gossip and their picturesque appearances on the tourist-board maps, are very seldom spotted. An inbred population of about a hundred specimens of Ursus arctos pyrenaicus (Cantabrian brown bear) remains in the southern Picos, most of them tagged with radio transmitters; another isolated group survives in western Asturias.

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