Donana National Park is a relatively small wildlife reserve in southern Spain, but one of the best places remaining on the Iberian Peninsula to view some of Europe’s endangered species. Because of its proximity to the large cities of Andalusia, Donana draws many visitors, which both increases park awareness but also threatens the fragile area further. Donana is one of the few natural places in Europe identified as a world heritage site.
The area around Donana has been settled with towns and cities for over two thousand years, and local wildlife has suffered heavily because of this. However, the marshy landscape also provided a refuge where many species managed to survive into the 20th century. The park was established in 1969 and designated as a world heritage site in 1994. The park is currently threatened by the encroachment of surrounding strawberry farms, and to a lesser extent by the thousands of pilgrims who pass through the place every year during the Romeria de El Rocio festival.
Donana is located in the delta of the Guadalquivir River where it runs into the Atlantic Ocean, and consists primarily of marshland. It is home to several rare species of Deer, as well as a geographically odd assortment of animals including Wild Boar, Egyptian Mongoose, European Badger and Dromedary Camel which roam the park’s sandy fringes. One of the most popular residents is the extremely rare Iberian Lynx.
Donana National Park is located close to the southernmost tip of Spain, approximately forty miles southwest of Seville. It is open year round. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.andalucia.com/environment/protect/donana (official website).