Slovakia’s wildlife is abundant and diverse; Tatry (High Tatras) National Park shelters an exceptional collection of wild animals, including bears, wolves, lynx, wildcats, marmots, otters, martens, and minks.Hunting is prohibited in the parks, and some animals, such as the chamois, are protected nationwide. It is roughly coextensive with the historic region of Slovakia, the easternmost of the two territories that from 1918 to 1992 constituted Czechoslovakia.The short history of independent Slovakia is one of a desire to move from mere autonomy within the Czechoslovak federation to sovereignty—a history of resistance to being called “the nation after the hyphen.” Although World War II thwarted the Slovaks’ first vote for independence in 1939, sovereignty was finally realized on January 1, 1993, slightly more than three years after the Velvet Revolution—the collapse of the communist regime that had controlled Czechoslovakia since 1948.Average July temperatures exceed 68 °F (20 °C) in the Danubian lowlands, and average January temperatures can be as low as 23 °F (−5 °C) in mountain basins.The growing season is about 200 days in the south and less than half of that in the mountains.
The major forest types include the oak-grove assemblages of the Podunajská Lowland, the beech forests of the lower elevations of the Carpathians, and the spruce forests of the middle and upper slopes.
The highest elevations support taiga and tundra vegetation.
The timberline runs at about 5,000 feet (1,500 metres).
Its mountainous terrain is another determining factor.
The mean annual temperature drops to about 25 °F (−4 °C) in the High Tatras and rises to just above 50 °F (10 °C) in the Danubian lowlands.