Gibraltar

About

Gibraltar (often called The Rock) is a narrow peninsula, 7km long, linked to Spain by a low, sandy isthmus. A Mediterranean wildlife community survives on the impressive limestone cliffs and slopes with their scrub, patches of woodland, caves and rocky shoreline. A steep cliff rises from the Mediterranean on the east to 398m. On the west, the Rock slopes more gradually through scrubland, with the city (where most of the approximately 28,000 people live) nestled at the foot, partly on land claimed from the sea. To the south are a series of stony terraces.

The economy is based on the service industry, particularly tourism and financial services.

Over 300 species of birds are known to have occurred in Gibraltar (not including those represented only in the fossil record). Soaring birds, like the short-toed eagle Circaetus gallicus and many other raptors, pass over twice a year during the spectacular passage of migratory birds between Europe and Northern Africa.

The Upper Rock Reserve is Gibraltar’s only terrestrial protected area. Barbary macaques Macaca sylvanus are unique to Gibraltar as the only wild-living non-human primate in Europe.

There are approximately 600 species of plants, including endemics such as the Gibraltar sea lavender Limonium emarginatum, restharrow Ononis natrix ramosissima and saxifrage Saxifraga globulifera gibraltarica.

In 2014, 260 Barbary Partridges were imported from Morocco, in order to boost the population of the species that had experienced a marked decline in recent years. The recent efforts, supported by the conservationists, to open up areas of the Rock through vegetation clearing and habitat management will be beneficial to the re- introduction efforts.

All bats are protected species under Gibraltar and EU law. Four species of bats are known to occur here: greater mouse-eared bat Myotis myotis, Schreiber’s bent-winged bat Miniopterus schreiberi, the pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus and the free-tailed bat Tadarida teniotis.

Gibraltar’s waters are home to dolphins and many other animals, such as sea-turtles, traverse the Straits between Mediterranean and Atlantic. A number of land and marine nudi-branchs (sea-slugs) are unique to Gibraltar, while the Mediterranean ribbed limpet is possibly the most threatened marine species in the Mediterranean, with the Rock holding the healthiest and most viable population in Europe.

Gibraltar has important historic sites including: the Gorham’s Cave complex. This site contains four caves at the foot of the eastern face of The Rock. It is the last known site where the Neanderthals lived. It provides examples of their culture for around 30,000 years, and subsequently the arrival of modern humans, which has merited the site being considered as of outstanding universal value and thus, it has been placed on the UK’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites.

Read more about the wildlife, history and cultural heritage of all of the UK Overseas Territories in the 704 page Britain’s Treasure Islands book (CLICK HERE).

Watch 42 ‘mini-documentaries’ that explore the wildlife, cultures and history of all of the UK Overseas Territories (CLICK HERE). 

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Video

Gibraltar – wildlife and heritage 

 

Read more about the wildlife, history and cultural heritage of all of the UK Overseas Territories in the 704 page Britain’s Treasure Islands book (CLICK HERE).

Watch 42 ‘mini-documentaries’ that explore the wildlife, cultures and history of all of the UK Overseas Territories (CLICK HERE).