Nature and Animals. Nature Parks from Transylvania.
I will tell you some important things about Romania’s flora and fauna. Nowadays, one-third of Romania's territory is a mountain area, largely forested, where most of the interesting flora and fauna are to be found. Another third of the country territory is hills and plateaux areas, with a fair quantity of woodland still remaining, and another third is a plain area, most intensively farmed.
Nature and Animals of Romania
The Carpathian Mountains form an arch starting from the south of Ukraine and running around Transylvania ending close to the Danube, at the Iron Gates. At lower levels (up to around 800 m.; 2625 ft) the natural vegetation consists of forests of oak and hornbeam, lime, and ash. Romania still has impressive areas of this kind of forest, which have largely disappeared in other parts of Europe.Above 800m. (2625 ft), beech becomes increasingly common, and at around 1400m (4593 ft.) it joins with common silver fir and sycamore - known as the Carpathian Beech Forest. Spruce is dominant above this level and above 1700m (5577ft. ) we have the lower alpine zone, characterized by dwarf pine, juniper, and low growing, goat willow. From 1900m, upwards is the higher alpine zone with grass, creepers and shrubs, lichen, moss, and bare rock.
Romania has the most important population of large carnivore species in Europe - bears, wolves and lynx. The bear population is around 6000. Brown bears are hunted in Romania, but in a strictly controlled way and their number is at a healthy level.
Wolves’ population is around 2000 in Romania, generally restricted to forest areas. Although they do regularly hunt sheep in grazing areas, wolves represent no danger at all to mankind. Lynx are fairly widespread (but very hard to spot) in the hill forests and they are the most specialized large predator of all. Red deer can be found in some lowland forests but the species is more widespread in spruce forests on hilly areas. Above the tree line in the Transylvanian Alps (the Meridional Carpathians) the most visible mammal is the chamois. Wild boar is also very widespread, being found in the lower forests. Other mammals include the European Bison, the golden jackal, the wild cat, the red fox, and the badger. Last but not least the snakes-the most dangerous beings - like the horned viper can be found near Baile Herculane.
The Rich Forest
Along the way between Brasov and Sighisoara, the Rich Forest is to be found in the Persani Mountains. You can see here trees like hornbeam, oak, and beech. In the same area, we can find rich and typical rock vegetation. The fauna consists of a large number of rabbits, foxes, deer, wolves, and brown bears.
The Daffodil Glade is situated in a tectonic area in the Fagaras Basin, near Sercaia Village. In the past, the basin was covered with large forests of oak and beech. The forests were cleared through the years to obtain fields for agriculture so only a small clump of wood remained. Such a clump of wood is situated near Sercaia village, where one of Romania's splendors, The Daffodil Glade, can also be found. The dominant flower species there is the daffodil, scientifically named Narcissus Stellaris.
Apuseni Nature Park (ANP)
The Apuseni Nature Park is situated in Western Romania, in the Central-North-Western side of the Apuseni Mountains, comprising a part of the Bihor massif at the South and Vladeasa massif at the North, in the administrative territory of three counties (Cluj 40%, Bihor 32%, Alba 28%). In the Northern Bihor Mountains, massive limestone prevails alternating with thin pockets or streams of conglomerates, gravel stones, and purplish-blue (flint) schists. In the North (in Magura Vanata Mountain) such stones and conglomerates appear, while to the south we find limestone, like the Dolomites (Padis-Scarisoara area), then further South, the second band of gravel stones and flints schists (the Barsa Pit, Cetati Valley, Gardisoara Valley), and lastly, the second band of limestone (Sighistel Valley, Galbena Valley, Ponorului Fortress, Garda Valley).
All these are inclined from North to South, the strata being newer from North to South. The entire ANP territory belongs to the mountainous - subalpine zone, and the species that compose the vegetation are characteristic of the mountain habitat. The vegetation is structured by altitude as follows: mountain meadows, spruce forests (Picea abies), and deciduous forests, where one finds species such as beech (Fagus silvatica), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), Sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), Wych elm (Ulmus montana), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), wild cherry (Cerasus avium), field maple (Acer campestre), Silver birch (Betula verrucosa), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), goat willow (Salix caprea), black walnut (Juglans regia), etc.
Due to the local conditions of soil, climate, and topography, this natural framework includes some changes. Many invertebrate species have been identified so far in the park, some being new to science, and some others being endemic to the Apuseni Mountains. The underground fauna is very well represented on ANP territory: many species are endemic and many are only found in one or two caves. Best represented is the group of Cholevinae coleopterans (Leiodidae) and Trechinae (Carabidae). The cave-dwelling genera Drimeotus and Pholeuon are endemic to the Apuseni mountains with a very limited distribution area. Of special interest for the Arieș river and the majority of its tributary streams is the well-differentiated fish species.
In the aquatic ecosystems of ANP over 15 species of fish are found: brown trout (Salmo trutta fario), rainbow trout (Salmo irideus), brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), grayling (Thymallus thymallus), bullhead (Cottus gobio), minnow(Phoxinus phoxinus), Danubian barbel (Barbus meridionalis petenyi), barbel (Barbus barbus), nase (Chondrostoma nasus), stone loach (Noemacheilus barbatulus), spined loach (Cobitis taenia taenia), chub (Leuciscus cephalus) and roach (Rutilus rutilus carpathorossicus). Two of these species have been introduced by man (rainbow trout, brook trout).
Among amphibians 10 species were identified, of which the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata), newts (Triturus alpestris, T. cristatus, Triturus vulgaris ampelensis) are worth mentioning.
Of reptiles, 8 species can be listed: the common adder (Vipera berus), wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara), sand lizard (Lacerta agilis), slow worm (Anguis fragilis colchicus), smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissima) and the grass snake (Natrix natrix).
All common mountain bird species live in the area.
In coniferous forests, the following prevail ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus), crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), willow tit (Parus montanus), goldcrest (Regulus regulus), three-toed woodpecker (Picoides trydactilus), hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia), crested tit (Parus cristatus).
In the deciduous forests, glades and meadows are encountered: wood-pigeon (Columba palumbus), raven (Corvus corax), black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus), bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), etc.
Near the watercourses are encountered: dipper (Cinclus cinclus), grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea), and the common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). The following birds are pray are found in the park: Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina), Golden Eagle (A. chrysaetos), Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and Red-footed Falcon (F. verspertinus), Sparrow Hawk (Accipiuter nisus) and Goshawk (A. gentilis).
The mammals include species common to beech and spruce mountain forests, and also chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) which was reintroduced into the upper basin of the Crisul Pietros - Boga valleys. Today it is present also in Groapa Ruginoasa, Cetatile Ponorului and Scarita. Another re-population successfully accomplished in Apuseni between 1970 and 1980 has been the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), which was endangered as a result of excessive hunting.
The large mammals include wolf (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx), bear (Ursus arctos), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), wild boar (Sus scrofa). Among the carnivores, we find the wild cat (Felis silvestris), the polecat (Mustela putorius), and the otter (Lutra lutra). Recent results of evaluations made by the researchers from ICAS Brasov in cooperation with the forestry staff that works on ANP territory showed that some 26 wolves live in ANP. This number seems to be the optimum number considering the available habitats and species biology. The wolves are organized in packs, the 2005 results showed the presence of two packs of 10 and 5 wolves respectively in Cluj county, and two packs of 6 and 5 wolves in Bihor county and Alba county. A healthy level of lynx population was estimated for the ANP at 20 individuals (8 in Cluj county, 4 in Bihor, and 8 in Alba).
Not the same can be said about bears, the evaluations recording only 21 individuals, a number considered much lower than the optimum capacity of the ecosystems that bears prefer. These bears are distributed as follows: 7 in Bihor County, 12 in Cluj County, 2 inAlba County. This is a rather serious situation because the bear population from Apuseni is isolated from other Carpathian populations and the normal gene flow is interrupted. Given the insufficient gene pool, it might be possible that the presence of bears in the Apuseni is at risk. The otter (Lutra lutra) is a species protected by national and international law, and lives in families, along running waters that are relatively isolated from human impact. In ANP, the presence of several otter families was spotted on the upper course of the Somesul Cald, Garda Seaca and Belis rivers.
The small rodents are represented by 10 species, some of them having special importance, as they have been listed in the EU Habitats Directive 92/94/EEC: bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus), common vole (Microtus arvalis), field vole (M. agrestis), house mouse (Mus muculus), yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis), striped field mouse(A. agrarius), wood mouse (A. sylvaticus), common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), fat dormouse (Myoxus glis) and red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).
The small insectivores are also well represented in ANP with 8 identified species (excluding bats): common shrew (Sorex araneus), pygmy shrew (S. minutus), alpine shrew (S. alpinus), water shrew (Neomys fodiens), Miller’s water shrew (N. anomalus), white-toothed shrew (Crocidura leucodon), mole (Talpa europaea) and hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor).
A few caves have special importance also due to the bat colonies they shelter (Lup Nicoara, 2005: Borda, 1998/199, 2002, Database of the Romanian Bat Protection Association): greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), lesser horseshoe (Rh. hipposideros), Rh. euryale, Myotis myotis, M. blythii, M. nattereri, M. brandtii, M. mystacinus, M. bechsteinii, M. emarginatus, M. daubentonii, M. dasycneme, noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula), Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Plecotus auritus, P. austriacus, Barbastella barbastellus, Miniopterus schreibersii, out of which the species Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Myotis myotis and Miniopterus schreibersii have great scientific importance. The caves studied from the chiropterological point of view are the caves from Sighistel valley and from the Fanate, Onceasa, Fagului and Humpleu caves, the first four locations having the greatest importance for bat colonies.
The Bicaz Gorges - Hasmas Mountain.
The park is located in the Hasmas mountains - (Haghimas), situated in the central group of Oriental Carpathians, also known as the Moldo - Transylvanian Carpathians. The park is located in the central - north-eastern region of Romania, in the zone of Harghita and Neamt districts. The Bicaz Gorges National Park is one of great geological, geomorphologic and paleontologic interest. It is also interesting from the point of view of its landscapes, and biological diversity generated by the great variety of geo climatic conditions.
The Bicaz Gorges are famous in Romania also because of their impressive dimension. At the same time, the Red Lake, formed through the natural blocking of the Bicaz river’s waters (1837) offers lovely scenery to the eyes. The protected area of the Bicaz Gorges - Hasmas is crossed by the trans-Carpathian road DN12C, which connects the town of Gheorgheni - (situated in the Giurgeu Depression and drained by the Mures river) to Bicaz, a town situated on the Bistrita river. Access towards the Hasmasul (Haghimasul) Mare can be obtained from Balan, situated north of Sandominic, on DN12.
The natural frame of the Hasmas massif, with its varied geologic, geomorphologic, pedologic, and climatic elements, its microclimatic conditions determined by the exposure and aspect of slopes, the great height difference (from 575 m in the valley of the Bicaz at Bicaz Chei, to 1792 m at the top of the Hasmasu Mare) determine the existence of a rich and diverse flora and fauna. As a result of field investigation and according to extant bibliographic data, 1147 superior plant species have been inventoried (29 hybrids and 99 sub-species) The PNCB - H has spruce forests (pure spruce forests - 95%) resinous forests with beech on the mountain slopes, vast mountainous pastures, peaks with sub-alpine vegetation, rocky parts with specific vegetation, and many rare and endemic flowers.
Specific to this region is the local endemic plant Astragalus pseudopurpureus (gusul). Many rare species can be seen here, among which are: the juniper(Juniperus sabina) the pyramidal bugle (Ajuga pyramidalis), the low tufted perennial Silene zawadzkii, the Geum - like - barren wild strawberry (Waldsteinia geoides) and the rose Daphne (Daphne cneorum).
Of great scientific importance are the legally protected plants, declared monuments of nature: the Yellow Lady’s Slipper(Cypripedium calceolus), the Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) the Nigritella rubra (orchidacee) and the yew (Taxus baccata).
The fauna of the park is very rich in rare and endangered species and also other species characteristic for the mountain region. Here are some of these rare species, which are important links of a rich trophic network, indicating a subsisting well-balanced ecosystem.: the Apollo butterfly (Parnassius apollo)and the Polygonia alba.
There are also amphibians and reptiles, such as Bombina variegata (the yellow-bellied toad), Rana ridibunda (the lake frog) Triturus alpestris (the Alpine newt), Triturus cristatus (the crested newt), the Triturus montadoni (the Carpathian newt), the Salamandra salamandra (salamander), the Bufo bufo (the toad), the Rana temporaria (the common frog) the Lacerta vivipara (the viviparous lizard), the Vipera berus (common viper), the Coronella austriaca (the smooth snake).
There are also birds such as Tichodroma muraria (the wallcreeper), Picoides tridactylus (the woodpecker), Emberiza cia (the rock Bunting), Corvus corax (common raven) Tetrao urogallus (Old World grouse), Strix uralensis (the Ural owl) Aquila chrysaetos (the golden eagle).
Some mammals which can be found in the region are Cervus elaphus (the red deer) Rupicapra rupicapra (the wild alpine goat) Ursus arctos (the bear) Lynx lynx (lynx) and Canis lupus (the wolf).
Piatra Craiului National Park
The entire Piatra Craiului National Park is located in the Meridional Carpathians, and it also includes parts of the neighboring mountain passes Rucar - Bran, and Rucar - Zarnesti. The Piatra Craiului National Park stretches over the counties of Brasov and Arges, including areas belonging to the towns of Zarnesti, Moeciu (Magura and Pestera villages), Bran, Rucar, and Dambovicioara. A special conservation area, covering 4879 hectares (Brasov 2624 hectares, Arges 2255 hectares), has been established inside the national park, including the scientific reserve of 683 hectares ( Brasov 443 hectares; Arges 240 hectares ).
The special conservation area also includes 4 karst areas: the Zarnesti Gorges in Brasov County, the Dambovicioarei and Brusturet Gorges in Arges County, and also a protected area with the status of the natural monument on 1.5 ha (the Bats Cave). In addition, an area of 1189 hectares where grazing is forbidden, is located inside the special conservation area. The rest of the park’s area, 9849 hectares constitutes the national park area.
The geographical location of the Piatra Craiului National Park places the territory in the temperate climate area, within the region of transition between the western continental and the more extreme continental climates. Some of the areas are located in the mountain climate sector, the high mountains sector. Generally speaking, the massif’s climate is not too different from the other neighboring mountains’ climate. However, the orientation, the altitude, and the massif’s configuration have determined several particularities. The mainly calcareous geology of the Piatra Craiului massif is characterized by the impossibility to retain infiltration or running waters to create phreatic water reserves and, in the end, to form water flows. This is why while the valleys crossing the massif’s body are dry; the only watered valleys are located at the foot of the mountain: Barsa, Dambovita, Dambovicioara, with some of their tributaries. The rivers inside the national park belong to two main watersheds: The Olt River watershed to the North and the Dambovita watershed to the South, separated by the following route: La Umeri - Grindu Peak - La Table - Sasu Hill - Sterghiori Peak.
The invertebrates fauna is particularly rich counting 35 endemic species and 91 species identified as new to science. We mention two endemic species for Piatra Craiului: Nesticus constantinescui (Arahnida) and Rhagidia carpatica (Arahnida, Acari). The Piatra Craiului National Park also holds a rich bird fauna, including the 111 species identified so far, in the territory, rendering the area an ideal destination for bird watching. Many of these species are strictly protected by the Bern Convention - The Convention for European wildlife and natural habitats protection (law 13 of the 11th of March 1993) and by the Bonn Convention - regarding the conservation of wild migratory species (Law 13 of the 8th of January 1998).
Over 40% of the 100 mammal species found in Romania live here. Up until now, 21 species of bats have been identified in caves or old tree hollows throughout the national park. Many of these species are included in the strictly protected species category, according to the Bern Convention, 6 of them are listed in the European Council Directive 92/43 EEC (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, R. euriale, Myotis bechsteinii, M. blythii, M. myotys, Barbastella barbastellus) and one species - Vespertilio murinus - is included in the Bonn Convention.
We should mention as well the fact that all bat species are protected in Romania, according to Law 90 of the 10th of May 2000, regarding the adherence of our country to the Agreement concerning the bats conservation in Europe settled at London on the 4th of December 1991. The Piatra Craiului National Park also holds a large population of large carnivores: bears - Ursus arctos; wolves - Canis lupus; lynx - Lynx lynx. Studies conducted so far have revealed the presence of three migration corridors, used by these species, between the Piatra Craiului and Bucegi massifs. These corridors will benefit from special protection status.
The richness of the species inside the Piatra Craiului National Park is the result of the extremely diverse conditions the territory provides for the development of the vegetation. The altitude exceeding 2200 m provides the appropriate development conditions for almost all of the Carpathian Chain alpine and mountain species. The forests, bare rocks, scree slopes, meadows, and swamp lakes, ensure the particularly rich botanical diversity. The fungi, moss, lichens, and flower plant species find here a real paradise.
A total number of 1170 plant species and subspecies have been identified throughout the national park’s territory. Taking into account the fact that Romania’s flora records 3136 species, it can be said that the Piatra Craiului National Park is home to 30% of the superior plant species in the country. 181 species have been included in the "Red List of superior plants in Romania" as endemic, rare, or vulnerable species, proving the importance of the Piatra Craiului National Park from the point of view of flora species conservation, namely the Carpathian endemic species. Among these species we name only the best known, which enchant the eyes of nature lovers visiting Piatra Craiului during summer.
These species benefit from a strict conservation regime: garofita pietrei craiului (Dianthus callizonus) the symbol of the Piatra Craiului massif, this mountain being the only place in the world to house this species, Taxus baccata, Angelica arhangelica, Nigritella nigra and N. rubra, Papaver alpinum ssp. corona-sancti-stefani; Linaria alpine, Leontopodium alpinum, Trolius europaeus, Rhododendron mytifolium, Gladiolus imbricatus, Gentiana lutea, Daphne blagayana, Daphne cneorum, etc.
The Piatra Craiului National Park houses an impressive number of mountain orchids 48 species out of the 53 species found in Romania. But don’t expect to find the exotic orchids from the warmer climate countries. The orchids in the temperate areas are small and less spectacular looking, yet they represent one of the most endangered plant groups worldwide. Due to the sharp angle of the mountain slopes, the vegetation layers, formed according to the altitude are very noticeable here, the massif being surrounded, from the bottom towards the ridge, by hayfields, forests, bare rocks, and alpine meadows.
National Park Rodnei Mountains
The National Park - Rodnei Mountains was born in 2004. Rodnei Mountains are located on the north side of Romania having the highest altitudes from the oriental Carpathians such as the Inau Peak - 2279 meters (7477.03 ft). The weather is at the intersection of two areas: the oceanic and Baltic. In January the average temperature is 30 Celsius at lower altitudes and – 20C at the top. The rainfall is more than 1200 - 1300 mm/year.
The Rodnei Mountains due to their size are an important source of water the drainage being to the 4 main water systems: Bistrita Aurie, Somesul Mare, Viseu, and Iza. The glacial lakes are situated at 1800 - 1950 meters (5905- 6397ft). The fauna of this park is rich in invertebrates, many of them typical for the Oriental Carpathians. The rivers have trout and grayling. As to reptiles, we can find mountain lizards; As to birds we can mention, the grouse and the Golden Eagle. The mammals are represented by Chamois, Marten, Deer, Bear, Wolf, Marmot, Boar.
Retezat National Park
Retezat National Park comprises the Retezat- Godeanu mountain ranges. The Retezat range extends north from the center and rises from between the Petrosani and Hateg tectonic hollows. The main characteristic of the Retezat Mountains is given by the presence of two big volcanic blocks that stretch out in the direction of Lapusnicul Mare and Barbat rivers: the Retezat type granodioritic massif to the North, stretching out over a length of more than 40 km and width of around 20 km and the Buta granodioritic massif, located in the south of the Lapusnic- Barbat valley corridor, which drops under the Jurassic deposits of the Retezatul Mic. A strip of crystalline schists with quartz schists, mica-schists, and clorito -amphbolic schists stretches between the two blocks.
Another strip of crystalline schists, adherent to the Danube area, stretches out to the Northwest of the northern granite block. The crystalline mass fuses with the eruptive intrusions. The sediments are represented by some Paleozoic and Mesozoic geological patches (especially Superior Jurassic and Inferior Cretaceous limestones), they are located on the eastern periphery of the Retezat (the Tulisa crest) and in the South-Southwest (Retezatul Mic). The crystalline of the getic layer can only be found on the northern face of the mountains, stretching further under the sediments of the Hateg and Petrosani hollows. The tectonic, lithology, and morphologic conditions of the Retezat Mountains, together with the positioning of the peaks in relation to the direction of the oceanic air masses, make the massif the area with the highest humidity and drainage in the Romanian Carpathians.
The average temperature of the rivers decreases proportionally with the altitude. It is around 4C at 1600 m and around 20C at 2200m. The maximum temperatures of the rivers rise in July- August (12 to 22 C) and the minimum ones in December - March (20C to 0C). The most important watercourse is Lapusnicul Mare, having an annual average flow of 12.9 m 3 /s. Waterfalls can be found on any brook within the Park. The ancient natural lakes play an important role in characterizing the hydrologic network of the Park. Their genesis was determined by the optimal conditions for the accumulation and transformation of the snow into glaciers, at altitudes higher than 1700 m, during the Superior Pleistocene era. Over 37.8% of the Romanian glacial lakes are situated within the Retezat National Park. Located at the bottom of the glacial basins, ranged in tiers, aligned, isolated, or grouped in complex patterns they represent a major attraction, not only for tourists but also for the scientists who come to these places. The morphometric elements of the lakes oscillate within large limits, some of them breaking the national records: Bucura- the largest glacial lakes, Zanoaga- the deepest. The surface of the lakes is between 300m 2 (Stanisoara I) and 88612m 2 (Bucura) and the maximum depth is between 0 - 3 m (Stanisoara I & II) and 29 m (Zanoaga). The volume of the lakes varies between 90.3 cubic m (Galesul II) and 693.152cubic m (Zanoaga). Although they have relatively small surfaces, the glacial lakes have a highly important role in the regulating draining of the rivers in the Retezat Mountains. 58 permanent glacial lakes exist in the entire massif, located between 1700m and 2300m altitude. Some bibliographical sources mention the existence of over 80 glacial lakes.
The Flora and plant communities
Retezat is famous for its floral diversity, sheltering around 1190 superior plant species of the 3450 species known in Romania. The existence of more than a third of the Romanian flora in this area is one of the reasons for which it was declared a National Park. An approximate number of inferior species adds to the above-mentioned ones. This is the reason why the interest of the botanists in the flora of Retezat started quite early, in the second half of the 18th century. However, representative works for the area appeared later, Borza (1934), Nyarady (1958) (who published „The Flora and Vegetation of the Retezat Mountains“), and Csuros and others (1956) making a great contribution. Over 90 endemic species, of a total of 127- 400 endemic species in Romania, are extremely important to the conservation of the plants in Retezat. The first endemic plant reported in RNP, was the, Ddraba dornerii, discovered in 1858 by Heuffel. The 130 rare or vulnerable plants of the „Red List of the superior plants in Romania“ (published in 1994- Oltean and others) are also of great importance.
In the second half of the 19th century, Bieltz and Csato carried out the first scientific studies on the fauna of Retezat. During the next century, many researchers studied the fauna of the massif.
Due to its very diverse habitats, Retezat National Park shelters a particularly rich fauna, in a number of species and populations.
The invertebrates, represented by thousands of species from all the Carpathian habitats have not been categorized, although they were much studied.
The fish are represented by 11 species, Sabanajewia aurata being one of them, which is an endemic species in the Danube area. More than half of the Romanian amphibian species totaling 11, can be found in Retezat. The specialists consider 8 of these species as rare and vulnerable, at the national level.
The reptiles in the park are represented by 9 species, almost 40% of the Romanian terrestrial reptiles. Although few cases of viper bites have been recorded, tourists and natives often kill vipers.
The number of bird species in the park is large for a mountain area. There are 185 species, half of the Romanian bird species. 122 of them nest in the Park and nearby areas. Rare species like the mountain aquila, Aquila chrysaetos, (also represented on the Park logo), Lesser spotted aquila Aquila pomarina, the serpent eagle (Circaetus gallicus), the migratory falcon (Falco peregrinus), the mountain cock (Tetrao urogallus), Bubo bubo, Glaucidium paseinum, the black stork (Ciconia nigra) and other rare species can be found here. 55 species of mammals, 23% of the European terrestrial mammals, have been recorded in the Retezat National Park, proving once again the diversity of the natural habitats of this area.
The Park offers survival conditions to the most important European large carnivores: the wolf (Canis lupus), bear (Ursus arctos), and lynx (Lynx lynx). Big herbivores such as chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), deer (Cervus elaphus), and the roedeer (Capreolus capreolus) can also be found here. The smaller carnivores, such as wildcat (Felix silvestris) and musteline find micro mammals in the different habitats of the Park, which provides them with food. The bears use caves in Small Retezat during the winter and bats hibernate here, and also use them for shelter during summer days. There have been 13 species of bats identified in the Park: Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum, Vespertilio murinus, and Pipistrelus pigmaeus. The otters Lutra lutra can be found in some of Retezat’s rivers, using the rich fish resource as food. In 1973 a team of scientists from the Romanian Academy- Commission of Natural Monuments introduced 20 alpine marmots which originated in the Austrian Alps. The marmots were released in the Gemenele Lake basin and can now be found in all the glacial valleys and basins from under the Custurii Saddle to the Zanoaga Lake basin. The impact of this non-native species on the vegetation and soils is unknown.
According to LAW, 22 of the mammals in Retezat require strict protection, 13 are of community interest; their exploitation is a concern in the management measures, is included in Annex 5 of the Law. The rich fauna of the Retezat National Park shows once again the existence of natural habitats little affected by human activity.