The Sierra de la Almenara is made up of a set of mountains. It is located in the southwest of the region of Murcia and has little elevation. The “Talayón” peak has the highest altitude (879 meters).
Sierra de la Almenara, Moreras, and Cabo Cope form the exceptional mountain system of the southwestern quadrant of the region of Murcia (the municipalities of Lorca, Aguilas, and Mazarron). This mountainous system forms a large area protected by its high ethnological and natural value, with the statuses of Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) and Site of Community Importance (SCI), as this mountain range includes such protected species as the Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata)
and the Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca)
Special Protection Areas for Birds are territorial spaces that conserve and guarantee natural conditions to safeguard the habitats, reproduction, and survival of the bird species that inhabit them.
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) are areas that have been recognized under this special administration regime for their ability to contribute to the restoration of natural habitats, including the biodiversity and ecosystems of wild fauna and flora.
In addition to the Bonelli's eagle, in the Sierra de la Almenara there are other birds of prey such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), the little owl (Athene noctua), and the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), among many other bird species.
In terms of wildlife, apart from the Greek tortoise, the Sierra de la Almenara is home to a wide variety of reptiles, such as the ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus), the Algerian psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), the Spanish psammodromus (Psammodromus hispanicus), the spiny-footed lizard (Acanthodactylus erythrurus), and the Iberian wall lizard (Podarcis hispánica).
The region’s snakes include the Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus)
, the Iberian false smooth snake (Macroprotodon brevis)
, and the ladder snake (Rhinechis scalaris)
, among others.
In Sierra de la Almenara, one can find varied vegetation. The mountain range is covered by thickets, containing mainly rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
, Cistus clusii
, and Anthyllis cytisoides
. There are also specimens of lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus)
, along with Satureja obovata
species. Among its rocks, there are rupicolous species such as Teucrium freinii
and Chaenorhinum origanifolium
, among many other interesting plants.
The Greek tortoise
Such is the importance and awareness in many sectors of the population of the need to contribute to the preservation of species such as the Greek tortoise that private farms located in the Sierra de la Almenara have joined the Greek Tortoise Project, becoming part of the network promoted by the Association for the Custody of the Territory and Sustainable Development (ACUDE).
The project designed by this association has taken this singular species as the object of special attention, seeking to conserve its wild populations and the biodiversity of its habitat. The project involves owners of farms in this mountain range who, by agreement, undertake to ensure the species’ protection.
This initiative was prompted by the species’ serious situation. The Greek tortoise is included on the Red List of threatened species, which is why the European Community has issued several measures for its protection. Capturing the Greek tortoise is prohibited, and even its breeding and development must be carried out under strict regulations to guarantee the continuity of the species.
On the other hand, the exceptional scenic beauty of the Sierra de la Almenara has led to its enjoyment by groups of enthusiastic visitors, who enjoy discovering the secrets and stories of various locations and trails throughout the region.