Doñana National Park

Doñana National Park
Doñana National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Wetlands in Donana.jpg
Wetlands in Doñana
Map showing the location of Doñana National Park
Map showing the location of Doñana National Park
Location within Spain
Location Huelva & Seville province - Andalusia, Spain
Coordinates 37°00′00″N 6°30′00″W / 37°N 6.5°W / 37; -6.5Coordinates: 37°00′00″N 6°30′00″W / 37°N 6.5°W / 37; -6.5
Area 543 km²
Established 1969
Visitors 392,958 (in 2007)
Governing body Ministry of the Environment
Type: Natural
Criteria: vii, ix, x
Designated: 1994 (18th session)
Reference #: 685
State Party: Spain
Region: Europe and North America
Extensions: 2005




In 1989 the surroundings of the national park were given more protection when a buffer zone was declared a natural park under the management of the regional government. The two parks, national and natural, have since been classified as a single natural landscape.

In 1994 UNESCO designated the park a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has also recognised the park as a Biosphere reserve. It is a wetland of international importance on the list of the Ramsar Convention.

The park has a biodiversity that is unique in Europe, although there are some similarities to the Camargue, with which Doñana is twinned. [1] Doñana contains a great variety of ecosystems and shelters wildlife including thousands of European and African migratory birds, fallow deer, Spanish red deer, wild boar, European badger, Egyptian mongoose, and endangered species such as the Spanish Imperial Eagle and Iberian Lynx.


During the 19th and 20th centuries, a herd of feral dromedaries roamed the area. They may have been introduced during the Moorish Conquest of Spain in the 8th century, or they may have escaped from a herd introduced by the Marquis de Molina as beasts of burden in 1829.[2][3] By the 1950s, there were only eight individuals left, and these were threatened by poachers.[4]

Ecological Issues


The park is used by pilgrims participating in the Romería de El Rocío. As this event is attracting a million pilgrims annually, it can have a negative impact on the park's eco-systems.

Mining pollution

The park and its highly sensitive ecology were threatened in 1998 by a massive spill of metallic waste from a reservoir at the Aznalcollar mine into the Guadiamar River, which flows through the park; however, the spill was diverted into the Guadalquivir River, reprieving the park.

Impact of agriculture

In 2007, World Wildlife Fund warned that strawberry farms surrounding the park, where 95% of Spanish strawberries were produced, threatened to cause catastrophic damage to the park by depleting the surrounding groundwater, notably where illegal boreholes were involved, as well as creating considerable pesticide pollution and plastic waste which was accumulating in local creeks; AFP further reported that WWF was calling for a boycott of Spanish strawberries,[5] but this is contradicted by the remarks of a WWF-Spain spokesperson,[6] and it is uncharacteristic of WWF to call for blanket boycotts.

Notable Wildlife

A proposed location of the lost city of Atlantis

In 2011, a team of American archeologists claimed that they have found the location of the lost city of Atlantis located in the Marisma de Hinojos in the centre of the park, where its location has been predicted in 2004 [7]. The site is approximately 5 miles inland from the coast, and is located under the mudflats in the park. The archeologists suggest that a giant tsunami wiped the city off the map. They further pointed to "memorials" around the location, which are archeological sites with similarities to the Atlantean legend. The archeologists made the claim that these sites were founded by survivors of the disaster. Experts' investigations are ongoing. The archeologists' claims were shown in a special of the National Geographic Channel on March 13, 2011.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ Apart from being important for wildlife, the Camargue has a pilgrimage site, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The twinning is with the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue. [1]
  2. ^ Chapman, Abel; Walter John Buck (1893). Wild Spain. London: Gurney and Jackson. pp. 94–101. 
  3. ^ Chapman, Abel; Walter John Buck (1910). Unexplored Spain. New York: E. Arnold. pp. 275–282. 
  4. ^ Meissner, Hans Otto (1963). Unknown Europe. trans. Florence and Isabel McHugh. London and Glasgow: Blackie & Sons. pp. 100–124. 
  5. ^ "Call for Spain strawberry boycott". BBC News, 16/3/07
  6. ^ "How the thirst for strawberries is draining Spain's precious water". The Independent, 14/2/07: [2]
  7. ^ report by BBC report by ABC report by National Geographic report by Time magazine report by Scientific American
  8. ^ "Lost city of Atlantis believed found off Spain". MSNBC news, 14/3/11
  9. ^ Swallowed by the Sea, Simon Winchester, Newsweek, 20 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-25.

Further reading

External links

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