Before explaining what animals are in the Sigean African Reserve, we must tell you, because you may not know it, that this natural space is not in Africa, but in Europe and close to us. Specifically, it is located in the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon, about fifteen kilometers from Narbonne.
It is one of the five largest zoos in the neighboring country, but it is much more than that. Because it was born with the vocation of sheltering animals with protocols of integration in the natural environment and extensive farming, while protecting and conserving them as a species. Now, we are going to do a bit of history and then we will show you what animals are in the Sigean African Reserve.
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A little history of the Sigean Nature Reserve
This reserve was born on the initiative of naturalists Daniel de Montfreid y Paul de La Panouse who, supported by the regional authorities, devised a unique animal park due to its size and way of doing things. They chose to install it in a large area of garrigue abundant in flora and fauna.
Thus, the reserve opened its doors on April 8, 1974. Since then, it has not stopped growing, hosting new species protected by european breeding programs. Many of them are in danger of extinction and come to the park to be preserved. This is the case, for example, of an African nothingness: the Tibetan bear.
As for what animals are in the Sigean African Reserve, we will tell you that, currently, it has nine hundred species of mammals, six hundred reptiles and two thousand birds. However, these are approximate figures, since the animals live in freedom and, in addition, there are numerous migratory birds. Due to its proximity to the Mediterranean coast, the area is a place of passage for these birds, who take advantage of the Sigean ponds to make a stop.
Animals in the Sigean African Reserve
It would be impossible to tell you one by one about all the species that you can see in this reserve. As we said, in total it is estimated that around three thousand five hundred spread over its three hundred hectares of extension. Therefore, we are going to show you the most representative and least expected on the European continent.
We also mentioned that this reserve has some nine hundred species of mammals in its facilities. Therefore, we cannot tell you about all of them. However, among the most representative are the leones, different varieties of antelope and zebra, gazelles, chimpanzees, dromedaries, gibraltar monkeys, watusis y white rhinos.
But, regarding what animals are in the Sigean African Reserve, it is more curious to find mammals such as the red necked wallaby. It is a variety of Australian kangaroo that reaches a height of 70 centimeters and a weight of between 13 and 18 kilograms, depending on whether it is male or female. Also, you will be surprised meerkats, weighing only 900 grams and 35 centimeters high. In their case, they are small mongooses that come from the African deserts of the Kalahari and the Namib.
It is also very curious Bolivian saimiri, popularly known as the squirrel monkey, which is even smaller, rarely exceeding 31 centimeters. And what to say about red potamoquer, a kind of wild boar that can reach 115 kilograms in weight and 80 centimeters in height at its withers. In his case, it comes from equatorial forests in Africa.
In turn, the lyaon, also called wild dog or hyena dog due to its similarity to these, is also present in Sigean. It is a carnivore that originates from the steppes and savannahs and reaches about 75 centimeters in height with a weight of 30. However, it stands out mainly for its large ears.
Anyway, we could continue talking about curious species among the animals to see in the Sigean African Reserve. Thus, we would mention the nile conch, a bovid of almost a meter in height; of moose, with its sharp horns; of dwarf buffalo, which, despite its name, reaches 300 kilograms in weight; of somali wild ass, which reaches up to 250 or the enormous great kudu, which comes from the savannas and has a cross height of 1,60 meters.
Less numerous than the mammals are the Sigean reptiles. However, the reserve has about six hundred species of this type. Not missing among them, the huge and fierce american alligator, which can reach more than six meters in length and 450 kilograms in weight. Also present are the no less fearsome Boa constrictor and its variant, the madagascar tree boaas well as a common iguana and african spurred tortoise, which can reach 100 kilograms in weight.
But also in this case, you can see more curious reptile species in the Sigean Reserve. Among them, you will be surprised by the dwarf crocodile which, despite its name, reaches a meter and a half in length and 80 kilograms. But more surprising are the bony scales that cover its body, especially its neck. Because of them, it is also known as an armored crocodile. Next to this, you can also see the african snout crocodile.
Less known is the nile monitor, the largest lizard in Africa, reaching 2,4 meters in length and 15 in weight. As a curiosity, we will tell you that it is an excellent swimmer due to its paddle-shaped tail and its resistance in apnea (about thirty minutes).
However, perhaps he takes the cake among the reptiles of Sigean the quadricorn chameleon, so named because it has two horns above its mouth and several more on its neck. It weighs around two hundred grams and measures about 35 centimeters. But, equally as a curiosity, we will tell you that his tongue reaches twice the size of his body. It is not surprising, since it is his hunting weapon. His relative is parson's chameleon, the largest in the world, as it is about 70 centimeters.
Birds among the animals in the Sigean African Reserve
Birds are the most numerous in Sigean. As we told you, they are around the two thousand species, it is true that many of them are passing through on their annual migration. How could it be otherwise, if we are talking about an African reserve, there are a good number of Ostriches. but you can also see emus, their Australian relatives, which reach almost two meters in height and can run at 48 kilometers per hour. And likewise, their cousins from South America, the Rheas.
Also, you have in Sigean elegant Flemish y Peacocks, pelicans y guinea pigeons. There is no shortage of different types of waterfowl such as the crested duck, brown pochard or bicolor and white-faced suirirís, nor different varieties of Turkish such as the redcrested or western grey.
On the other hand, also among the birds there are some peculiar in the reserve. It is the case of african tantalum, a wading bird of the stork family that has a curious way of fishing. While stirring the mud of the lagoons with one of its legs, it introduces its long open beak into the water. When he senses a prey pass by, he suddenly closes it, seizing it.
An equally powerful beak has the african peck. With it, he is able not only to break the shell of the snails, but also to cut the muscle that binds them to it. This is how it feeds. And to the same family as tantalum belongs marabou, a large bird that feeds both on carrion and small mammals. The same can be said of jaribou, which is characterized by a long and colorful beak of great beauty and a size of one and a half meters.
Of course, if we talk about curious peaks, perhaps the palm takes the trumpeter hornbill, which owes its name to the greatness of it. And the same can be said of his relative, the gray hornbill, with its crest of feathers, as well as the african spoonbill, named for its spoon-shaped bill. With it, it moves water and mud from the lagoons to obtain its prey.
For her part, the little spiny lapwing dwells in Sigean during his migrations, like his relative, the armada, which defends its young by means of pointed excrescences on its wings. The gloomy vulture takes care of cleaning the territory of carrion, although its relative, the palm vulture prefers the fruits, especially the nuts of the African palm. another vulture, the speckled, is protected in Sigean, since it is in serious danger of extinction.
Other species of birds such as common and Abdim's stork, hermit ibis, crowned crane, common pile driver or gray parrot They complete the list of birds that you can see in this beautiful French zoo.
In conclusion, now you know what animals are in the Sigean African Reserve, located in the Languedoc. But, more importantly, these species live there in semi-freedom and protected, since many are in danger of extinction. The park is divided into several areas, each with certain animals so that they do not harm each other. And the visit consists of a one-hour drive and another on foot, approximately two and a half. Cheer up to know the Sigean African Reserve.