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Flora and Fauna of the Pyrenees

Wild Gentian
Wild Gentian

The plant and animal life of the Pyrenees is as varied and interesting as the natural environment in which they thrive. With soaring peaks and plunging valleys, thick forestry to snow-covered plateaux, the disparate nature of the landscape ensures that a rich variety of flora and fauna can be discovered.

From woodland to barren landscapes

A journey east across the Pyrenees reveals the true diversity of the flora and vegetation of the range. The western section, for example, is thick with forest and woodland, whereas the eastern side takes the appearance of a barren wilderness. But it’s not just the vegetation that changes across the plains of the Pyrenees; the plant life is enchanting too.

An wealth of flower varieties can be found across the range, with bright orchids comprising just part of the rich tapestry of colour that sets the landscape alight throughout the summer months. Gentians, lilies, iris, and Corona del Rey can all be found on trails through the Pyrenean mountains, maintaining their reputation for being one of the most picturesque and colourful anywhere in Europe.

Indigenous wildlife

With such an array of vegetation, there’s little surprise that the assorted wildlife that makes the Pyrenees home is intriguing. The streams and waterways of the mountains are home to the Pyrenean desman, a small, nocturnal mammal related to moles and shrews. The endangered, semi-aquatic mammals are one of only two remaining species, with the other being resident in Russia.

At the other end of the wildlife scale is the Pyrenean brown bear, whose numbers are on the increase and centred in the region of Fos. The brown bear of the Pyrenees was, in the 1990s, hunted to near extinction, resulting in its reintroduction in 1996 with bears from Slovenia.

Discover the treasures of the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees mountain range is about far more than simple peaks and valleys. The changing flora and the varied wildlife that thrives across the region is proof of its importance as a natural habitat. From the Mediterranean coast to the highest peaks, the area has plenty of flora and fauna to admire.

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