Souss-Massa National Park

Souss-Massa National Park

Location: Map

Area: 33,800 hectares


Description of Souss- Massa National Park

Souss-Massa National Park is located in the South- west Morocco. Souss-Massa National Park covers an area of 33,800 hectares. Souss- Massa National Park is a nature preserve that covers 33,800 hectares of untouches bioreserve on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. It was recently created in 1991.


In the north of the sanctuary, in a large fenced area, mhorr's gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr), a subspecies of dama gazelle, saber antelope and addax, and the North African ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus), which is a subspecies of the African ostrich, have been reintroduced. Although the Addax antelope was not native to the area in historical times, over 500 animals now (as of 2007) live in the large outdoor enclosures. Sous-Massa is home to the largest semi-wild herd of this endangered species, from where the animals are released in parts of their former range, such as in the Dakhla National Park. The large enclosures of the reserve are also an important population center for the Mhorr gazelle. The Mhorr gazelle has been considered extinct in the wild since 1968. However, seven copies survived in a private collection. From a breeding station in Almería, they were then distributed to various zoological gardens, e.g. B. to Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. Bred Mhorr gazelles came back to Souss-Massa in 1994 from the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich.

A number of mammal species also occur outside of this fenced area such as honey badger, wild cat, ichneumon (a species of mongoose), common roundleaf bat, Atlas squirrel, North African elephant shrew, Hoogstraal gerbil and Barbary striped mouse. Everywhere along the banks of the Oued Massa you can find the tracks of the wild boar, which rummages through the ground for food. Even the otter has been sighted, but this is unusual. Once upon a time, the Cuvier's gazelle was also at home here.

275 different bird species have been recorded in Souss-Massa, including resident and migratory birds. Typical species found along the coast include white stork, the three heron species (little egret, gray heron and scaly heron), tern, European roller, bee-eater and barn swallow. Huge flocks of migratory birds from Europe appear at the mouth of the Oued Massa in winter. Up to 4000 ducks, especially pintail, shoveler and pochard are attracted to the wetlands. But also coot, oystercatcher, crane, great crested grebe, gray heron, marmot and ruddy shelduck.

Black-winged stilt, avocet and the occasional black stork and glossy ibis can be found in the unused salt pans. In 1980 the cormorant subspecies Phalacrocorax carbo maroccanus was discovered in the Souss-Massa region. In the estuary of the Oued Souss you could already see the endangered thin-billed curlew. Spoonbills from the Netherlands and the greater flamingo also spend the winter here. Audouin's gulls and ospreys have also been observed on the marshes.

In the steppe areas, the Mediterranean gray shrike, woodchat shrike, Senegal chagra, Sardinian warbler, chiffchaff, diademed redstart, little owl, magpie, palm dove, spotted cuckoo and the widespread gray bulbul occur.

The driest areas were inhabited by coursers, curlews, little bustards and collared bustards. Double-spurred francolin and Arabian bustard have also been observed. The rocky coast is the refuge of the brown-throated sand martin, Eleonora's falcon and lanner falcon. One of the last free occurrences of the northern bald ibis can also be found here, which breeds in three breeding colonies from March to September. Because of its rarity and threat, the northern bald ibis is still listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. However, around 2000 animals are kept in zoos and reintroduction programs are running in Austria, Spain and Morocco.

The low-lying coastal area consists of several isolated water lagoons and spits, which are mainly covered by cattails, rushes and foxtails. On the elongated dunes you will find cyper grass and yellow restharrow. Inland, there are eucalyptus (imported from Australia), savannah trees and argan trees, which, for example, turn into spurge plants. A large area is also covered by succulents, which only occur on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and Mauritania, e.g. B. Ice Plants, Spurge, Kalanchoe, Ragweed and Bean-like Yolk. The vegetation of large parts of the steppe-like garigue consists of resthocks, sea lavender and egretsbill.