Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise is an Italian national park founded in 1922. The majority of the park is located in the Abruzzo region though it is not constrained by regional boundaries and also includes territory in Lazio and Molise. The park headquarters are in Pescasseroli in the Province of L'Aquila.
The park currently includes 496.80 km sq (191.82 sq mi).
In wildlife terms, the main attractions of the park are the Marsican Brown Bear and the Italian Wolf. While official figures report 70-100 bears in this genetically isolated population. Wolves were once rarer (as low as 40), numbers have reportedly rebounded in recent years.
The elusive Eurasian Lynx is present in the park. In greater numbers, though no easier to spot, are Red Deer and Roe Deer, and the reintroduced Wild Boar. Other reclusive inhabitants of the forest include the Polecat, the Badger, the Otter and two species of marten, the Pine Marten and the Beech Marten. Higher, above the forest, Chamois live alone or in small groups.
Animals that are easier to see include Red Fox, the Mountain Hare, the Least Weasel, the European Mole, and the Western European Hedgehog. Dormice and Red Squirrel s are also quite frequently seen. Other mammals recorded in the park are the Snow Vole, the Edible Dormouse, the Wildcat and an introduced species the Crested Porcupine whose quills may be seen on paths.
Many bird of prey inhabit the park. Most notable amongst them is the Golden Eagle. Other raptors that reside within the park include Goshawks, Peregrine Falcons, Eurasian Buzzards, Kestrels and Eurasian Sparrowhawks.
The nighttime visitor are several species of owl, the Little Owl, the Barn Owl and the Tawny Owl. Woodland birds include the European Green Woodpecker and the rare White-backed Woodpecker, cliffs harbour the Red-billed Chough and Alpine Chough and bare mountain birds include the Rock Partridge and White-winged Snowfinch. Streams provide habitat for the Grey Wagtail and White-throated Dipper.
The flora of the park is rich and interesting. A comprehensive list of plants would extend to more than 2,000 species without including lichens, algae or fungi. Flowers present in the area include gentian, primrose, cyclamen, violets and the lily.
Many outdoor activities are possible within the park including:
- Horse riding
- Bird watching
- Alpine skiing
- Cross-country skiing