Tunisia is a Northwest African country hosting the African continent’s northernmost point at Cape Angela. The country has a coastline on the Mediterranean in the north while its southern part lies in the northern reaches of the Sahara Desert. The eastern end of the Atlas Mountains is a part of Tunisia. Despite its small size, Tunisia hosts a great environmental diversity due to its north-south extent. The climate of the country becomes more arid in the south. The flora and fauna of Tunisia are protected within the limits of the several national parks of the country.
10. Bou-Hedma National Park
Bou-Hedma National Park is located near the city of Gafsa in the Sidi Bouzid and Gafsa governorates of the country. The park was founded on December 18, 1980. It has been included in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites of the UNESCO. The national park features vast stretches of remote, desert land with acacia savannahs. Mountains are also present in the area. Although this protected area was once rich in wildlife, the animals were indiscriminately hunted and vegetation destroyed during the Tunisian Revolution.
9. Boukornine National Park
Boukornine National Park of Tunisia was set up on February 12, 1987. It is the located in the northern part of the country and encompasses an area of 1,939 hectares. The capital city of the country, Tunis, is just 15 km away from the park while the town of Hammam-Lif is its nearest settlement. A 576 m tall mountain named Jebel Boukornine is also located here. The slopes of the mountain are covered with Aleppo pine and cedar. Wildflowers like the Persian cyclamen bloom in the national park. The mountain gazelle and the smallest mammal in the world, the Etruscan shrew, also occur here.
8. Chambi National Park
Located in the Kasserine Governorate of Tunisia, Chambi National Park has Tunisia’s tallest mountain, Mount Chambi, located within its boundaries. The mountain rises to an elevation of 1,544 m above sea-level. The Chambi National Park lacks any permanent flowing body of water but is home to some of Tunisia’s most threatened species, the Barbary sheep, and the Cuvier's gazelle. Several species of birds like the Egyptian vulture, the peregrine falcon, the Tunisian crossbill, the Bonelli's eagle, etc., live in the national park. The park had its humble beginnings as a fenced reserve in 1970. In 1977, it received the status of a UNESCO biosphere reserve and in 1980, it was designated as a national park.
7. El Feidja National Park
El Feidja National Park occupies an area of 26 square km the Jendouba Governorate in northwest Tunisia. The national park was established in the year June 9, 1990. Several species of flora and fauna inhabit the park. The notable mammals of the park include the Barbary boar, Barbary stag, the African golden wolf, etc.
6. Ichkeul National Park
Ichkeul National Park encompasses the Ichkeul Lake and its surrounding wetlands. It is located in the northern part of the country about 20 km away from the nation’s northernmost city of Bizerte. The area is an important stopover location for migratory birds of several types like flamingoes, storks, geese, ducks, etc. Unfortunately, the construction of dams on the rivers feeding the lake has adversely affected the water volume and quality of the lake. In 1980, the Ichkeul National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for a decade from 1996 to 2006, it was included in the list of endangered sites by the UNESCO.
5. Jebel Chitana-Cap Negro National Park
Jebel Chitana-Cap Negro National Park is located in the country’s northern coast. It stretches between the Sidi el Barrak Dam and the cap Serrat, a cape on Tunisia’s coast. The national park was established on July 5, 2010. It occupies an area of 101 square km and consists of the Jebel Chitana’s forest chain.
4. Jebel Serj National Park
Jebel Serj National Park was founded on March 29, 2010. It has an area of 17 square km. The Jebel Seri National Park is located between the Kairouan Governorate’s South Siliana Oueslatia delegation and the Siliana Governorate’s South Siliana delegation. The highest point in the national park has an elevation of 4,452 ft.
3. Jebil National Park
Part of the Sahara Desert, Jebil National Park encompasses an area of 1,500 square km, the largest national park in the country. It was established in 1994 and occupies most of the southern part of Tunisia. The park features desert vegetation. Some of the common flora are the Calligonum, Rhanterium, etc. Animals found here include the gazelle, hare, horned viper, fennec fox, cobra, jackal, Barbary sheep, etc. Birds like ravens, bustards, and larks can also be observed here. The park is also known for its geographical landmarks like the gigantic boulders in the western sections. It also hosts archeological sites with prehistoric artifacts.
2. Zembra and Zembretta National Park
Zembra and Zembretta National Park includes the two Mediterranean islands of the country, Zembra, and Zembretta located in the Gulf of Tunis. The national park boasts of scenic landscapes and a wealth of flora and fauna. The two islands are separated by a distance of about 8 km and offer exciting hiking and camping opportunities to visitors. Several species of birds are found here including 140,000 pairs of migratory birds that nest in the cliffs of the islands. In 1977, the park was declared as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Several threatened species of birds like the Mediterranean shearwater also occur here. Endemic varieties of plants also grow here. The national park also hosts ruins of ancient Roman and Phoenician settlements.
1. Sidi Toui National Park
Sidi Toui National Park was founded in 1993. It covers an area of 6.3 hectares featuring an undulating landscape of hills and steppes. The Scimitar Oryx have been introduced into this park. Other species found here include the pale hare, gazelle, sand fox, desert monitor lizards, horned viper, etc.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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