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the fauna

The wealth of habitats that characterise the Karst is also reflected in the high biodiversity of its fauna. This condition is further accentuated on the reserve as a result of the increased availability of water, given the presence of the karstic lakes of Doberdò and Pietrarossa.
The life-cycles of some species that require cool, moist conditions are centred around the wetlands of these water bodies. There is a notable presence of reptiles and amphibians, amongst which, and especially worth mentioning is the Olm Proteus anguinus, a highly-specialised Urodele (a member of the family that includes Salamanders) living in the underground waters of the karst cavities and therefore hardly ever visible on the surface.
The fish community is characterized by species, especially cyprinids (members of the Carp family), capable of withstanding wide variations in temperature and major decreases in dissolved oxygen.
The protected area is also an important site for a large number of species of birds, at least 190 noted during recent monitoring, many of which are of Community interest under the terms of the Birds Directive EC 79/409. Of note is the presence of 6 species of Picidae (Woodpeckers), including the Grey-headed (Picus canus) and the Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius).
The presence of invertebrates on the Reserve is very rich because, in addition to the communities found in terrestrial ecosystems (scrubland, dry grassland, rocky outcrops, etc.), there are also those linked to the underground environments (caves and cavities) as well as those associated with fresh water.
Protozoa, rotifers, crustaceans, molluscs and insects form the basis of the food chain in each of these ecosystems.
The mammals include some rare or localized species such as the Polecat (Mustela putorius), the Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) and the Wildcat (Felis silvestris). Numerous cavities, arising from karst phenomena, are home to a rich community of bats. These include widespread species such as the Greater Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), the Noctule (Nyctalus n. noctula) whilst others, such as the Blasius’s Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus b. blasii) are considered rare, possibly even extinct.

The symbol of the Reserve is the Eastern Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor roumanicus), which reaches  the western limits of its Eastern European distribution in this area.

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photo: m. černic, a. colla, k. ferletič, l. morin, m. skodler, l. tolar, f.zanuttin
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