The lush green vegetation of Djebel Babor forest carpets the edge of the Atlas Mountain range. As you walk among endemic trees like the Algerian Fir, you may spot a troop of Barbary Macaques strolling by with babies clinging to their fur. This Endangered monkey is Europe’s only primate and the only macaque found outside of Asia. Despite this accolade, the species now clings to just a handful of fragmented forests across North Africa. Walk a little further, and you may hear the piping call of the Algerian Nuthatch Sitta ledanti, also an Endangered species and the country’s only nuthatch. This scurrying songbird is restricted to just five breeding sites, and Djebel Babor Forest is an important one.
You may therefore be shocked to hear that for many years, this precious habitat had no formal protection. Djebel Babor forest was classified as a National Park in 1921, but a decade later the size of the park was significantly reduced. Then in 1985, it was declassified altogether. Thankfully, all that changed on the 28th of May this year, when we received news that, after years of advocacy from conservation organisations, the Algerian government has officially declared the site a protected area.