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French Wildlife in Savoie

By Linda Tancs

Vanoise National Park in southeastern France is the country’s oldest national park. Occupying over 130,000 acres, it stretches to the Italian border and is contiguous with the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy. Originally founded in 1963 for the protection of the Alpine ibex (a wild goat that suffered greatly from hunting beginning in the 16th century), conservation efforts have proved fruitful. About 2,000 ibex reside in the park, the largest national population. Other animals found there include 5,500 chamois as well as marmots, foxes,  golden eagles, black grouse and perhaps rarest of all, the three-toed woodpecker, which purportedly has only ever been seen in Savoie and Haute-Savoie.

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