The Nature Reserve of the Lake of Penne was set up in 1987 to protect the birdlife in the man-made lake of Penne, formed in ’60s after the barrage of the Tavo river. The municipality of Penne runs the Nature Reserve in partnership with the cooperative COGECSTRE and WWF. In the Reserve there are a botanic garden, the centre of the European otter, the Nature Museum Nicola De Leone, the butterflies’ garden, the centre of environmental awareness Antonio Bellini, the centre of the Mediterrenean ducks, the pond of the amphibians and the fauna area of the European tortoise. The path “Nature” runs along those places worth of remark, and it is also fit for disabled people.
The Reserve of the Lake of Penne is renowned for its centre of the European otter, which is aimed at the protection of this rare and valuable mustelid in Abruzzo, in cooperation with the similar area in Caramanico Terme. Other mammals live in the Reserve, such as badgers, foxes, European polecats, beech-martens, squirrels, wild boars and, occasionally, wolves and wild cats. In the birdlife there are species of absolute remark such as the loon, the rare nycticorax, the egret, the European crane, the white and the black stork, the glossy ibis, the spoonbill, the grosbeak, the beccafico, the bunting and the red-head shrike.
The Reserve of the Lake of Penne cooperate with the university La Sapienza (Rome) and the University of L’Aquila in its scientific activities; with the university D’Annunzio (Pescara) in a project of a new economy that can take advantage from the protection of the environment. The Reserve is not far from the seaside and the mountains both. Views from the lake of Gran Sasso massif, of Mount Camicia in particular, are striking.