Discovering the fauna and flora

There is an incredible wealth of nature at the Pic du Jer, with around 100 plant species and many wild animals living on its flanks.
 
Campanule remarquable des Pyrénées

You can come and take a walk along our botanical trail to take in the fragrances issuing from aromatic plants such as thyme, wild thyme and oregano. There is also pleasure for the eyes, with a vast array of colours: the yellows of the rock rose, gorse and hypericum; the blues and violets of the bellflowers, blueweed and liverworts, from spring through to the start of autumn.

The different ecosystems of the Pic du Jer are ideal as habitat for mammals such as roe deer, red deer, wild boar, foxes and many others.

Whether as seasonal visitors or hibernating through the winter, bats can be observed on your underground hike through the caves. Look out in particular for the horseshoe bat, the commonest species to be found in the caverns.

There is no shortage of birds of prey, either: you have a good chance of spotting griffon vultures, black and red kites, kestrels, peregrine falcons and eagles. Some of them make their nests there, while others profit from the rising currents from the cliffs.

Let us not forget either the little sparrows that can be spotted way up high, and whose tuneful song will accompany you on your stroll.

Two emblematic animals are the pride of the Pic du Jer: the European mouflon and the Egyptian vulture (of which there are only around 50 pairs throughout the French Pyrenees).

 

European mouflon

Mouflons de Corse au Pic du Jer

Operations to introduce the animal began on the Pic du Jer in 1999. These animals were taken from the Pibeste reserve. Their population is estimated at around 20 individuals.

This species further boosts the wildlife population in the mountain range.

It is suited to the Mediterranean-type limestone environments from where it originates. It is a hardy animal that can eat most anything, even the bitter plants that other herbivores decline. It adapts its diet to the circumstances. It lives in perfect cohabitation with the roe deer and the red deer. In this way it serves to clear the undergrowth, helping to prevent the spread of fires.

Keep your eyes wide open: you could come across them at any time on your funicular ride up the mountain. Indeed, they can often be spotted down below, in the rocks, where the 2 funicular cabins cross.

 

Egyptian vulture

Percnoptère au Pic du Jer

The Egyptian vulture is a mysterious bird, one of the representative symbols of the pastoral mountain environment of the Pyrenees.

It can be recognised by its white plumage, its black wingtips, a wedge-shaped tail and the distinctive yellow skin covering its face. It is a rock-living bird that nests on the cliffs.

As soon as it arrives, in March, it establishes its nest, it mates, and it raises one chick that will fly off with its parents in September for sub-Saharan Africa.

A carrion eater, it is also an opportunistic bird and will also feast on invertebrates and rubbish.

Like the griffon vulture, it is a beneficiary of the national action plan. We have also put in place at the Pic du Jer conservation measures for its nesting area (closed trail) in partnership with the National Bird Protection League (LPO).

 

Every Tuesday in the summer months Hélène will be there to show you the secrets of the fauna and flora.

Did you know?

The European mouflon is the smallest species of wild sheep. An adult male is 75 - 80 cm tall at the shoulders and weighs 40 - 60 kg.

The Egyptian vulture has a 1m60 wingspan!