Andorra is a small country on the Iberian Peninsula, surrounded by France and Spain in the eastern Pyrenees mountain range.
As a nature-rich country, about 90% of the area comprises forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, and meadows.
Therefore, it makes sense to find several interesting animals and plants in Andorra.
Plus, this country plays an essential role in the conservation of biodiversity in the Pyrenees region.
Just north of Andorra, there’s the Ordino Biosphere Reserve which is notable for protecting different unique and endangered species.
Andorra also boasts other animals and plants that are not classified as endangered or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) but are still considered near threatened.
Also, other threatened species in neighboring countries once made their home in Andorra, so they are worth mentioning.
They include the Iberian lynx and the Bearded vulture.
Here is a comprehensive list of some near-threatened species you can find in and around Andorra:
4. Pyrenean Brook Salamander
Another endangered species in Andorra is the Pyrenean brook salamander (Calotriton asper) of the Salamandridae family and Calotriton genus.
It is also called the Pyrenean brook newt.
Besides Andorra, this species is native to the Pyrenees of France and Spain.
This salamander can reach a maximum length of 6.3 inches, with its laterally flattened tail taking up half of that length.
Unlike most animals, the males are usually smaller than the females, and both have small eyes, short limbs, and flattened heads.
They can appear in varying colors, the upper portion of their bodies ranging from charcoal to olive, muddy brown, or gray.
They can also feature a yellowish stripe along their spine.
This species is endemic in nature, so you can only find it in the Pyrenees, in altitudes ranging from 2,300 to 8,200 feet.
They are commonly found in aquatic bodies, such as shallow mountain lakes and slow-moving streams, and you will mostly find them in water below 59℉ with little vegetation on pebbly or rocky bottoms.
Other Pyrenean brook salamanders spend their entire lives in caves breeding over a long period due to the limited amount of life they receive.
The species is threatened due to the destruction of habitat for purposes like road creation and damming of mountain brooks.
The introduction of chemicals and game fish into their habitat is another reason the Pyrenean brook salamander is considered a near-threatened species.
3. Pyrenean Chamois
There are two species under the genus Rupicapra in the Bovidae family: the Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) and the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra).
The former is also called a goat antelope and is commonly found in the Cantabrian Mountains and Pyrenees of Andorra, France, and Spain.
In the 1940s, the Pyrenean chamois, alongside other chamois species, were hunted to near extinction to produce chamois leather.
Thankfully, their numbers started increasing again, and by 2022, there was an estimate of about 50,000 mature Pyrenean chamois.
This has taken them out of the near extinction status, although these animals are not entirely out of the danger zone.
This species can reach a height of 31 inches, and their backward-hooked horns can be 7.8 inches long.
Their coat is mostly ruddy brown in the summer and brown or black with darker patches surrounding the eyes in the winter.
Their primary diet includes grass, buds of trees, and lichens. Pyrenean chamois are agile animals and can reach an elevation of 9,842 feet.
2. Iberian Lynx
The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) has its major habitat in the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe and is the world’s most endangered wild cat species.
This cat’s population reduced drastically in the 20th century due to poaching, overhunting, habitat loss, and the population decline of its primary prey, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
These rabbits were affected by rabbit hemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis.
By 2002, there were less than 100 Iberian lynxes in the world.
Through captive breeding and other conservation efforts, this species has been brought back from the brink of extinction.
In 2019, the number increased to 400, and by 2021, it was reported that there were about 1,000 of this species.
While these numbers are encouraging, the Iberian lynx remains an endangered species.
These cats feature a yellowish to reddish-brown coat color, patterned with several black or dark brown spots of varying size.
Like the typical lynx, they have a small head, dark ear tufts, long legs, and flared facial ruff.
However, the facial ruff of an adult Iberian lynx is more distinct than that of other lynx species.
1. Bearded Vulture
The bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is a magnificent raptor with a wide geographical range, appearing in key regions across Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Unfortunately, they are an endangered bird species, especially in Europe.
An increase in human infrastructure and population, as well as reduced food availability, reduction in habitat space, and illegal bait poisoning for carnivores, have all contributed to the drastic decrease in the bearded vulture’s population.
Although bearded vultures are abundant in other locations like Ethiopia, the same cannot be said for Europe.
In fact, in the 20th century, the population was largely wiped out in Europe, with only a few remaining in the French and Spanish Pyrenees.
Conservation status has seen them reintroduced to the Italian and Swiss Alps and the Pyrenees, but they are also near threatened.
Bearded vultures are large birds of prey without a bald head, a common trait in most vultures.
Although it has a small head, its neck is thick and powerful.
The upper body of an adult bearded vulture ranges between gray-black and gray-blue.
They can also have a blend of rusty or whitish colors.