The real dragons of sa dragonera
The real Dragons of Sa DragoneraAugust 25, 2014Next
On a small isle off the Western corner of Mallorca, dragons roam wild and free; or so legend would have us believe. Sa Dragonera Island, situated less than a kilometre from the coast, was most likely named after its shape, rather than the mythical creatures that roam it, or for the fact that another kind of Dragon, equally as reptilian, just slightly smaller, has made its home there: one that the locals call the “Sargantana”.
The Lilfords Lizard, as it is more widely known, is endemic to only a handful of the smaller isles around Mallorca and Menorca, where there has been very little human impact. Greenish brown in colour and rather dainty looking in comparison with the geckos that are seen scaling the walls on the larger islands, the presence and boldness of the Sargantana on Sa Dragonera is quite remarkable, something that a short boat trip to the island will prove.
From the moment you disembark, you cannot fail to spot the lizards everywhere, particularly during the warmer months when they are most active. It is quite easy to approach them; they appear surprisingly unafraid, although offering them leftovers of your picnic is particularly discouraged by the Ministry of the Environment, who spend long hours carefully monitoring their feeding habits!
Sa Dragonera is not just home to the Sargantana, but many other protected and endangered species. Perhaps that is why, after some 20 years of perseverance by the islands ecological group GOB, the Mallorcan Government declared it a National Park in January of 1995;
Although not endangered, the Sargantana continues to be a “high priority” protected species on a European scale, for together with the Balearic Toad, they are the oldest land based vertebrae in Mallorca. Although they are not too at risk from predators, they are rather sensitive to changes in their environment, and any new species introduced to the island must be carefully monitored, so as not to disturb their habitat.
Sa Dragonera Island is almost four kilometres in length and offers superb nature walks that abound in typical Mediterranean flora, and a chance to visit the old lighthouse at the highest point on the island.
A selection of boat excursions run to the island all summer, both from Puerto Andratx and Sant Elm – the picturesque village nearest to Sa Dragonera – which take you to the tiny harbour, leaving you with ample time to roam at leisure.
For more information regarding the islands flora and fauna, and details of boat excursions, visit http://www.conselldemallorca.net/dragonera/