#EarthDay: Situated across the north-western stretch of Northern Africa, the Idurar n Watla (Atlas Mountains) is a mountain range that spans roughly 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
The highest peak is Toubkal mountain with an elevation of 4,167 metres (13,671 ft) in southwestern Morocco. The Idurar n Watla range separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert.
These mountains have been home to various flora and fauna, many of which are unique to Africa. Many of these plants and animals are endangered any many other plant and animal species have become extinct. Examples include the Barbary Macaque, the Atlas Bear (Africa’s only species of bear; now extinct), the Barbary Leopard, the Barbary stag, Barbary Sheep, the Barbary Lion (extinct in the wild), the Atlas Mountain Badger, the North African Elephant (extinct), the African Aurochs (extinct), Cuvier’s Gazelle, the Northern Bald Ibis, Dippers, the Atlas mountain viper, the Atlas Cedar, the European Black Pine, and the Algerian Oak.
Some of these animals were victims of the illegal animal trade, such as the Barbary macaque, others became extinct due to human interference such as the Atlas bear that was hunted for sport or used in the execution of criminals by the Romans during their expansion into North Africa. Similarly, it is believed that the North African elephant became extinct during the Roman conquest into this part of Africa. Barbary lions were often given as gifts to royals of countries such as Morocco and Ethiopia.
The Atlas are rich in natural resources and contains deposits of iron ore, lead ore, copper, silver, mercury, rock salt, phosphate, marble, anthracite coal, and gas among other resources.