Snow-capped Mount Teide, Tenerife. March 2011
The Canary Islands are one of the most extensively protected territories in Europe with 42% of the land mass falling under some category of park land. The four national parks are the Parque Nacional de las Cañadas del Teide, which includes Teide volcano; the Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a World Heritage Site; the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya; Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente.
There are however many threats to the conservation of the habitats across the Canary Islands. The native forest is greatly reduced and only 10% of the original area is left on Tenerife and less than 1% on Gran Canaria.
Inappropriate management of laurel forest, small-scale clearance, illegal hunting and introduced predators continue to threaten Bolle's Pigeon Columba bollii, and Laurel Pigeon Columba junoniae. In the western and central Islands, the protection of pine forest has resulted in Blue Chaffinch Fringilla teydea being judged as Conservation Dependent.
In the eastern Islands, the continuing natural desertification of Fuerteventura, together with water extraction and grazing by goats may damage the future prospects of Canary Islands Chat Saxicola dacotiae.
No cause is known for the disappearance of Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi from the eastern Islands, although competition from man for the intertidal invertebrates on which both once depended seems the most likely factor.