THE UNSUSPECTED FAUNA OF MOROCCO
The Atlas lion and the elephants have disappeared today. A few monkeys, jackals and lynx still haunt certain mountain regions. On the edge of the desert, bustards, gazelles and fennecs are rare.
Moroccan bird life is extremely varied. There are over 300 species of birds there. Morocco is home to many species of ducks, several species of swallows and swifts, and storks are part of the landscape. Among the sedentary species, there’s the partridge, many varieties of warblers, the sand-grouse, the pheasant, the quail. Lovers of raptors can see the vulture, the griffon vulture, the hawks, harriers and kites, without forgetting the booted eagle or the Royal Eagle.
In desert regions, reptiles hold sway: tortoises, rock agamas, vipers, cobras. In spring, you will be surprised by the massive butterfly hatching in the Ifrane region.
For fishing: sardines, anchovies, tuna, rays, hake, sea bream, red mullet, scorpion fish, sea bass, mackerel, squid, lobster.
The 7 cats of Morocco:
Do you know that in Morocco there are 7 different species of felines, only one of which is extinct in the wild? The lion is subject to a conservation program in captivity. The others all survive on the brink of extinction in the wild, without any conservation program, to the indifference (except that of poachers) and ignorance of all, but they are still probably still there.
Fewer than 5 individual leopards probably live in the region of Azilal, a very few cheetahs in the region of the border with Algeria. A few months ago, a serval was observed in the Middle Atlas region. The caracal which is also on the verge of extinction is very rarely observed.
As for the sand cat, it is becoming increasingly rare. Finally, there’s the African wildcat which survives as best it can because it is often mistaken for a domestic cat. In the worst-case scenario, the leopard and the cheetah will become extinct in the wild. It’s a very sad and real possibility which would be on a par with the total extinction (there are no Moroccan descendants of these felines anywhere in captivity) of local species which had evolved and adapted to their respective regions, thus developing local, unique characteristics.
The 8 potentially dangerous Moroccan snakes (out of 25 species):
Nowadays, people can walk all over the Moroccan wilderness without really having to worry about being attacked by animals. If the large predators have almost all disappeared, there are still a few animals which continue to tickle this primary human fear of "fear of the beast". These are of course the species that nature has sometimes equipped with weapons to hunt and defend itself, the poisonous species. Far from the fangs and brute force of a large predatory mammal, poisonous and potentially dangerous species have a bad reputation for being hidden and are claimed to be "sneaky." This is what we see everywhere among the inhabitants of the Moroccan countryside, a fear and a terror of everything that can be carrying poison (except bees perhaps).
Thus, all snakes, whether grass snakes, vipers or cobras, as well as scorpions and spiders, are considered as evil and harmful beings that must be exterminated at the first opportunity. It goes without saying that this exaggerated fear exists because of the hundreds of incidents which have occurred and which unfortunately have resulted in victims. But does this fear and do these accidents justify the systematic extermination of these species? Are these animals all dangerous ?
Naturalists who have done a lot of fieldwork and research in this area have identified 25 species of which 17 are completely innocuous and 8 which are venomous. It is interesting to note that among the 17 harmless species, 5 have poisonous fangs. However, these fangs are located on the back of their jaws and cannot be used against humans apart from in very exceptional cases in two species: the Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) which is the snake very frequently put around the neck of tourists in Marrakech and the Moïla snake (Malpolomoilensis) known to imitate the defensive posture of the cobra. The 12 species remaining have not the slightest venom.
Penguins in Morocco:
To the question "are there penguins in Morocco", the answer is yes.
This may seem surprising to many, except that everything can be explained once attention is drawn to the confusion that often exists as to the name of this bird.
The error (which consists of confusing auks and penguins) was first caused by English sailors. The latter had already seen auks because they were present on the English coast. When they saw their first penguins elsewhere, they lumped them together with the big auks that they knew and which are now extinct there. So, auks and penguins were called penguins by them.
The only species of auk that can be found in Morocco is the razorbill. Also known as the Little Penguin (Alca torda), the razorbill is a species of bird in the alcidae family. It is the only representative of the genus Alca.
It is a razorbill found from the North Atlantic to the Barents Sea.
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