Seagull flying

Cabo Cope

Cape Cope is a landmass that projects into the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It is located between the municipalities of Aguilas and Lorca, but administratively it belongs to the municipality of Aguilas.

Cabo Cope is one of the limestone outcrops that, together with Puntas de Calnegre, integrates the Cabo Cope and Puntas de Calnegre Regional Park, which enters Mazarron Bay, protecting 17 kilometres of virgin coastline.

The Regional Park has an extension of 2,665 hectares whose limits are defined by the towns of Calabardina to the south and Puntas de Calnegre to the northeast.

Remains dating from the Neolithic period have been found in the caves of Cabo Cope. Likewise, evidence of the Argaric culture, which occupied the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula during the Bronze Age, have been found.
Cope Tower (Aguilas - Murcia) 
Another piece of archaeological evidence is the Cope Tower, which was built in the 16th century as a means of protection from the Berber pirates who wished at that time to seize the Iberian territory.

In 1992, Cabo Cope and Puntas de Calnegre were declared a Regional Park. In 2000, they were declared Sites of Community Importance (SCI).

In this way, they became part of the Natura 2000 Network, the European network of natural areas. Cape Cope is also included in the Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA).

Habitats in Cabo Cope

According to the European Habitats Directive, six land habitats and three marine habitats have been considered as priority habitats in the Regional Park.

This European Habitats Directive is aimed at the conservation, protection, and improvement of the quality of the environment, natural habitats, and wild fauna and flora in the European territory of the Member States.

The nine mentioned priority habitats of compulsory protection are:

Sandbanks permanently covered by shallow seawater; vegetated cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with Limonium spp. endemic; Posidonia oceanic meadows; reefs; Mediterranean and thermoatlantic halophilous scrubs; thermomediterranean galleries and riparian scrubs; thermophilic scrubs and thyme, mainly semi-arid; and Zyziphus tree bushes.

Fauna and flora in Cabo Cope

Seagulls flying 
Likewise, these areas of obligatory protection maintain a biodiversity of great wealth in their flora, fauna, and birdlife, which make up the areas’ natural heritage. In particular, Cabo Cope integrates all the wealth of its Mediterranean coast.

Among the most striking birds are the gull and kingfisher. In addition, in the green areas, one can see birds of singular beauty such as the bee-eater and the hoopoe.

One can also find birds of prey such as the Bonelli's eagle, the eagle owl, and the peregrine falcon, among others.
In terms of reptiles, one can find the chameleon, the ladder snake, the ocellated lizard, the Bedriaga's skink, and the unique spur-thighed tortoise, among others. No less attractive are the mammals, such as the rabbit, the fox, and the wild boar, among others.

Among the most outstanding examples of flora are the orchid, the caralluma, and the Periploca laevigata. One can also find flowers such as Pallenis maritima and Lotus creticus, especially in the strip closest to the sea.

This Regional Park has a wealth of terrestrial and marine flora and fauna that remain virgin. However, it is threatened by urban development proposals. Hence, there is an urgent need to safeguard it and insist on sustainable tourism.