Albanian National Parks
Albania is a democratic country founded in 1998. Albania is relatively small with an area of about 11,000 square miles. To the north Albania is border by Montenergo, while Greece lies to the south. To the East, Albania borders Serbia and Macedonia. Albania’s has nearly 300 miles of coastline on its western border that extends from the Adriatic sea in the north, south into the Ionian Sea.
The lowlands on Albania’s western coast have a typical Mediterranean climate. Moving inland the elevation increases, and about 70 percent of Albania is considered mountainous. These higher, often inaccessible regions are cold and snowy during the winter. Albania’s highest mountain is Mount Korab which rises up over 9,000 fet above sea level. Tirana is the capital city of Albania and has less than 500,000 inhabitants.
Albania does not have one of Europe’s strongest economies. While Albania does have some minerals deposits, including oil, natural gas, coal, bauxite, copper and iron ore; agriculture is still the most significant sector of Albania’s economy. Albanian agriculture generates more than 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and employs a large proportion of the working population. Significant agricultural products include wheat, corn, figs, tobacco, and olives. In recent years, tourism has become more important to Albania’s economy with the number of tourists visiting Albania increasing every year.
Albania is well-know for its three large and very deep tectonic lakes. Lake Shkodër is the largest with a surface area of nearly 150 square miles. The second, Ohrid Lake has a maximal depth of over 500 feet and is home to a variety of unique flora and wildlife. Ohrid Lake has been given protected status by UNESCO in order to perserve its unique natural and historical features. Butrinti Lake is the smallest of the three tectonic lake and is located in the Butrint National Park.
Albania is rich with biological diversity with nearly 3300 species of plant and nearly 800 species of vertebrates. Roughly 30 percent of all the plant species found in Europe grow in the tiny country of Albania, including 27 endemic plant species. Over a third of Albania is forested, primarily with oak forests nearer the coast and black pine, beech and fir forests on the higher mountains. These forests are home to a wide range of animals, including the brown bear (Ursus arctos), gray wolf (Canis lupus), cross fox (Vulpes vulpes), jackal (Canis aureus), chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), Eurasian elk (Alces alces), European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), European badger (Meles meles), European Otter (Lutra lutra), ermine (Mustela erminea), beech marten (Martes foina), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and European pine marten (Martes martes), although the latter two species are rarely seen anymore. In total Albania has about 80 species of mammal, most of these are rodents, bats or other small animals. Albania has more than 350 species of bird, including the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) (the national symbol of Albania), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Ural owl (Strix uralensis), Eurasian capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), common crane (Grus grus), red-throated loon (Gavia stellata), little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus), rock pigeon (Columba livia), great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carboand), Eurasian spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Eurasian griffon (Gyps fulvus), great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), gray heron (Ardea cinerea), great egret (Ardea alba), Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), greylag goose (Anser anser), black stork (Ciconia nigra), white stork (Ciconia ciconia), common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), and house parrow (Passer domesticus). More than 300 species of fish live in Albanian waters. There are over 90 globally-threatened species of animals found within Albania, including the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), European sea sturgeon (Acipenser sturio), and the endangered Mediterranean monk seal. The Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus), is the world’s rarest pinniped with only about 400 individuals estimated to exist today.
The National Parks of Albania are as follows:
Butrint National Park
Dajti MountainNational Park
Divjaka-Karavasta National Park
Fir of Hotova-Dangëlli National Park
Fir of Drenova National Park
Karaburun-Sazan National Park
Karavasta Lagoon National Park
Korab-Koritnik National Park
Lake Prespa National Park
Llogara National Park
Lurë National Park
Mount Dajt National Park
Mount Tomorr National Park
Sazan Island National Park
Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park
Shtamë Pass National Park
Theth National Park
Tomorr Mountain National Park
Valbonë Valley National Park
National Park Zall-Gjoçaj