Monte Cofano Nature Reserve, a hidden gem of Sicily
The "Monte Cofano" Nature Reserve is a protected natural area of Sicily. It is a mountainous promontory of limestone, a characteristic triangular shape overlooking the sea, which reaches 659 m in height. It is located on the coast of the province of Trapani, at the eastern end of the gulf of Bonagia. It is included in the municipality of Custonaci, along the coast from Trapani to San Vito Lo Capo. The area of the Reserve covers 537.5 hectares. Within it are a small seasonal wetland, a torrential ravine (Gorge Cipollazzo) and numerous karst phenomena related to remodeling of the limestone rock by water, both surface (sinkholes and sinkholes) and in depth (caves).
The Reserve includes different Mediterranean ecosystems: the prairie of Ampelodesma, the coastal scrubland, the dwarf palm and the tree spurge; the ancient forests of oak (Quercus ilex) and downy oak (Quercus pubescens) are now very reduced; the Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) reported in the past in the territory of the reserve is not currently more present. But the real peculiarity of the botanical reserve is represented from the cave that is home to many endemic species such as the rock cabbage (Brassica drepanensis) and the sparrow hawk of Mount Cofano (Hieracium cophanense), exclusive endemism of Mount Cofano and the near Zingaro Natural Reserve. The Bivona cabbage (Brassica bivoniana), the cornflower of the cliffs (Centaurea ucriae), the Bivona spurge (Euphorbia bivonae), the Zafferanetto Linares (Romulea linaresii) and the smarginata larkspur (Delphinium emarginatum). The reserve is also home to several species of wild orchids including the orchid Robert (Barlia robertiana), the mirror ophrys (Ophrys ciliata), the yellow ophrys (Ophrys lutea), the flower of wasp ophrys (Ophrys tenthredinifera) , the italic orchid (Orchis italica) and the butterfly orchid (Anacamptis papilionacea).
An incredible botanical garden!
Among mammals is reported the presence of the fox (Vulpes vulpes), the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the weasel (Mustela nivalis) and the porcupine (Hystrix cristata), but also small rodents such as Savi's vole (Microtus savii ). The reserve is home to several species of migratory birds such as the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the buzzard (Buteo buteo), the raven (Corvus corax), the pigeon (Columba livia) and the common gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus). Among the reptiles should be mentioned the presence of the Sicilian lizard (Podarcis wagleriana), the green lizard (Lacerta bilineata), the gongilo (Chalcides ocellatus) and, among the snakes, the western whip snake (Coluber viridiflavus) and the viper (Vipera aspis).
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