IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
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Geography of the Sierra de la Culebra

The Sierra de la Culebra is a chain of old and highly eroded hills, hugging the top-corner of Spain’s border with Portugal. The sierra takes its name from its snake-like (culebra - snake) zigzag shape on the map. Here is Peña Mira, the highest peak in the range at just 1256m.

In the rain it could almost be parts of Northumberland in England, though the vegetation is different, forming a transition zone between Atlantic and Mediterranean habitats with oak representing the former and holm oak the latter. However, this is a highly modified landscape. Although much of the Sierra de la Culebra has been replanted with pine or turned into heather moorland (paramo) by fire or grazing, there are still some areas of regenerated Pyrenean oak quercus pyrenicus. It is probably this mosaic of habitats along with the abundance of prey which makes the area so wolf-friendly.

Classic wolf habitat. A mosaic with open expanses for hunting and forested areas for raising young and resting.

Much of the Sierra is now covered in pine planations or páramos (moorland). However areas of Pyrenean oak also survive.



Trip details

Trip report 1

Trip report 2

Sierra de la Culebra geography

Humans and wolves in the Sierra de la Culebra

Shepherds and mastins

Wolf tracking

Wolves in Spain
(complete article)

Reasons for the rise in the wolf population in Spain

Distribution, habitat and diet of wolves in Spain - Iberian wolf population (2005 estimates)

Conflict with livestock and humans

Wolf traditions and legends in Spain

Half-wolf, half-dog hybrids

The return of the wolf to Catalonia

Wolves in Iberian Languages


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