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From the Alps to the Black Forest, Germany is habitat to many different animals. However, generations of hunting and development have drastically reduced the population of many native German species. Endangered species in Germany are classified as such by an international agreement known as Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Nearly 100 endangered species from the CITES list are native to Germany.
The golden eagle is the official emblem of Germany, and has played a symbolic role in the nation's history. Once widespread throughout the country, the habitat of this majestic raptor is mostly limited to the German Alps. The golden eagle can have a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet. The bird preys mostly upon medium-sized mammals and other birds. The eagle is also known to prey upon chamois, a type of goat-antelope, by knocking them off of steep cliffs.
Extinct in Germany for more than 100 years, gray wolves returned in the 1990s. Less than 50 wolves living in scattered packs are believed to inhabit Germany, but the numbers appear to be increasing. Wolves are known for their ability to adapt to any habitat where prey is available and they are not hunted. Hunting remains a major threat against the wolves return to Germany, although they are legally protected.
The Eurasian otter is a widespread species that can be found from France to Nepal. In Germany the otter was hunted to extinction during the 19th century, but recently has made its return thanks primarily to conservation efforts. The Eurasian otter resides in rivers and feeds mostly upon a diet of fish. The major threat facing otters in Germany and Western Europe is pollution, which causes acidification of rivers and streams and reduces the availability of the otter's primary food source.
The Danube salmon is one of the largest species of salmon, growing up to 5 feet in length. The Danube salmon also happens to be one of the most endangered fish species in all of Europe. The fish is native to the Danube River, which has its origin in the German Black Forest. The primary threats facing the Danube salmon are overfishing, dams, pollution and deforestation.
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