Very few parks in Europe can match this park’s significance to the conservation efforts around the world.
On the right banks of Guadalquivir River is the ever graceful Donana National Park. The beauty of the park is further enhanced by the fact that it is nestled on the estuary of the river with the Atlantic Ocean. The park sits on quaternary deposits that include sand dunes and groups of rapidly shifting dunes.
The park is made up of several habitats including; marsh, scrub woodland and marquis, lagoons, and fixed and moving dune fields. These habitats are home to about 30 species of mammals, 8 species of fish, 360 bird species, 10 amphibian and 19 reptile species.
The park is particularly notable due to hosting several endangered species that include the Spanish Lynx, the marbled teal, Adalbert’s eagle and the white headed duck. You will notice that the black vulture, red kites are very common here. The park is an important breeding habitat for the egrets, waders, waterfowl and heron colonies.
Hundreds of thousands of waterfowls grace this Spanish park during winter as it is an important wintering spot. Note that the birds stop here on their great migration to and from Africa.
Although the park is in great conservation state, it faces constant threats from poaching, tourism overgrazing and agricultural development. There is rampant overexploitation of the Cray fish. The park has been a conservation prototype in Spain and has become well known throughout Europe due to the controversies surrounding its conservation and the creative conservation approaches that have been adopted here.
The Donana National Park is not only protected area that’s not a national park but also an important Biosphere Reserve and a European Community Special Protection Area.
Donana’s history goes back over 7 centuries. It was a famous royal hunting ground that served Philip IV, Philip V and Alfonso XIII. The park was previously owned by the Duchess of Alba and it formed the background of her popular portrait that was painted by Goya. This exalted past is symbolized by the Donana Palace.
All the Mediterranean wetlands, including Donana, have been exploited by humans for survival since the beginning of civilization. Donana has however shown some resilience…nature is still the dominant force on its landscapes. Very few parks in Europe can match this park’s significance to the conservation efforts around the world.
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