PRESSURE is mounting to turn the Sierra de Mijas into a nature reserve.

In a bid to protect the area against further construction – and more damage from fires – various groups, including the town hall as well as the IU party and Ecologistas en Accion have been requesting it for years.

The mountains – part of the Cordillera Betica range, that spread along the coast from Malaga to Fuengirola and inland to Coin and Alhaurin – are home to numerous animals, such as the genet, deer and wild boar.

The hills that go up to 1,150m in height are also home to Imperial Eagles and Eagle Owls.

The Olive Press has reported on a number occasions about the elusive wild cat – dubbed the La Cala cougar – that has been spotted in the hills.

But as the coastal towns are expanding inland there is an ever growing need to protect the sierra.

In Alhaurin, in particular, there has been constant pressure to build in the foothills, in particular around Barranca Blanco, between Mijas and Coin, where the recent forest fire first got out of control.

Under plans the city of Malaga’s development plan (PGOU) would be changed to safeguard at least the Churriana part of the hills.

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