10 Animals In Danger Of Extinction In Spain

Among the animals in danger of extinction in Spain  are the Cantabrian grouse, the European mink, the hermit ibis, the European brown bear and the Montseny newt. Also on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are the Los Jameos blind crab, the bearded vulture, the Mediterranean monk seal, the giant lizard of El Hierro and the Balearic bluefin eel.

All these species are classified in the category of critically endangered animals by the IUCN. A species is considered critically endangered when the risk of the species disappearing from a country or the planet in its wild state is very high.

In this category are classified the species whose population has decreased between 80% and 90% in the last decade or in the last three generations, in a given geographic space.

Species in a critical state of extinction (CR) show a population of less than 250 mature individuals.

Fauna in danger of extinction in Spain

Cantabrian grouse

The grouse ( Tetrao urogallus cantabricus ) is an endemic bird of the Cantabrian mountain range that belongs to the pheasant and chicken family. In Spain its hunting was banned since 1979 precisely due to the danger of extinction.

Despite its protection, the population of this gallinacea has remained at very low levels.

It can be seen in the Picos de Europa National Park, which includes the regions of Cantabria, Asturias and León, as well as in Lugo forests.

This bird of singular beauty – especially the males – is considered a relic of the glaciation. It has dark plumage with dotted red, green and white streaks, and its sexual ritual is a true spectacle.

European mink

The Mustela lutreola, by its scientific name, is another species in critical danger of extinction due to the introduction in Spain of the American mink.

By escaping from fur farms, the American mink began to compete with the national mink for prey hunting.

The American is a larger mink, for which it has managed to decimate the Creole population of this species in its natural areas.

The European mink has a white spot on its snout, which characterizes and distinguishes it from the American mink.

It lives in the Basque mountains, in the peaks of Urbión, in the Sierra de la Demanda, in the Navarrese Pyrenees and in the Sierra de Cebollera, between La Rioja, Burgos and Soria.

Hermit ibis

The Geronticus eremita  is a long-beaked bird belonging to the Threskiornithidae family . It is a species of pelecaniform birds that can live up to 30 years.

It was introduced in Spain at the beginning of the 20th century through Andalusia, coming from the Middle East.

Despite the recovery programs of the species that are being developed, it continues to be in the classification of Spanish species in critical danger of extinction. Their diet consists of hunting insects and small mammals and insects.

In Spain it is found in the La Breña Natural Park, in the Doñana de Huelva National Park and in Cádiz, in the Barbate Marshes.

European brown bear

This subspecies of the brown bear, whose scientific name is Ursus arctos arctos , has two lineages that differ from each other in Spain: the Cantabrian and the Pyrenean.

The one in critical danger of extinction is the Pyrenean, since only 70 specimens have been counted between Spain and France.

In the Cantabrian mountain range there are around 250 specimens. The bears of the Pyrenees are bigger than their brothers of Cantabria.

The brown bear is in danger of extinction due to the destruction of its habitat and the decrease of its food sources.

They are found in the national parks of Asturias and León, in the mountains of Palencia and Cantabria, and in the Pyrenees of Huesca and Lleida.

Montseny Triton

Since it was discovered in 2005, this amphibian ( Calotriton arnoldi ) is in critical danger of extinction.

It is an endemic species located in the Montseny Natural Park. It has specific characteristics that differentiate it from the Pyrenean newt, a species with which it was confused.

There are very few specimens of this species. The few that exist are located in rivers and ponds of the Montseny Natural Park, in Catalonia.

Blind crab from Los Jameos

Its scientific name is  Munidopsis polymorpha. It is a very rare crustacean that lives only on the island of Lanzarote, of which it is a natural symbol.

Its name is due to the fact that it inhabits only the lava tunnels through which the sea water enters, called Los Jameos del Agua, which are located in the north of the island.

It is an animal with a totally white body and it is also blind, since it does not receive sunlight. The survival of this species in critical condition depends exclusively on the conservation of its natural habitat.


The bearded vulture ( Gypaetus barbatus )  is a species quite similar to a vulture. It is a bird of great uniqueness, intelligence and beauty. It is called the bearded vulture for its ability to use tools to feed itself.

It usually takes rocks with its claws and drops them from the air to break the shells of the eggs of other birds that serve as prey. It usually feeds on small rodents and carrion.

The bearded vulture lives in the Huesca Pyrenees, in the Sierra de Cazorla in Jaén, in the Sierra de la Demanda (Burgos) and in La Lora and in the Sierra Blanca de Málaga.

Mediterranean monk seal

It is considered the most threatened mammal in all of Spain. The Monachus monachus was  even believed to be extinct in the country, since no more specimens of the species were sighted until 2008 on Isla del Toro, in Mallorca.

It is a unique species of seal that inhabits these waters, but previously lived throughout the Mediterranean Sea of ​​Spain, as well as the Canary Islands, Melilla and Ceuta.

There are several specimens in the Isla del Toro Marine Reserve in the Balearic Islands, as well as in the Chafarinas Islands (Spain) and in the Alboran Sea (Malaga and Melilla).

El Hierro giant lizard

This reptile, whose scientific name is Gallotia simonyi , is a species that is located on the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands; hence its name.

However, it came to inhabit all the coastal waters of the archipelago before dangerously diminishing its population until it was in critical condition.

It can measure up to 60 cm in length, is stocky, with a broad head and a long tail. Its back is dark brown, black and gray, with a pale or creamy belly.

It is distinguished by the yellowish brown markings on the side of its body. This lizard lives in arid and stony areas, and feeds on plants and insects.

Balearic Shearwater

The Balearic Shearwater ( Puffinus mauretanicus) is a seabird that is also categorized as in serious danger of extinction due to the destruction of its habitat.

It is an endemic species of the Balearic Islands. It is known by the name of baldritja and virot. By 2003 its population was estimated at less than 2000 pairs.

This large bird is capable of filtering seawater and expelling excess salt through its nose.

They sleep and breed in crevices and caves; the rest of the time they are at sea. They leave the Balearic Islands and emigrate to the Bay of Biscay after the breeding period.

It weighs about 500 grams and fishes with its hooked beak and claws, flying low over the sea.

Articles of interest

Animals in danger of extinction in the world .

Animals in danger of extinction in Mexico .

Animals in danger of extinction in Peru .

Animals in danger of extinction in Chile .

Animals in danger of extinction in Venezuela .

Animals in danger of extinction in Argentina .


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  2. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Consulted of iucn.org
  3. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission. Consulted from archive.org
  4. The flight towards the extinction of the Balearic shearwater. Consulted of elmundo.es
  5. 10 of the most threatened animal species in Spain. Consulted of lists.eleconomista.es
  6. Species in danger of extinction in Spain. Consulted of es.wikipedia.org

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