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Iberian lynx at Selwo Aventura in Estepona SUR
Selwo Aventura marks its 25th anniversary on the Costa del Sol as a sanctuary for endangered species
Conservation programme

Selwo Aventura marks its 25th anniversary on the Costa del Sol as a sanctuary for endangered species

The attraction in Estepona has reopened after the winter break with the commitment to develop conservation programmes for animals under threat of becoming extinct

David Lerma

Estepona

Monday, 26 February 2024, 18:31

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Selwo Aventura is celebrating 25 years of attracting visitors to the popular animal reserve in Estepona on the south coast of Spain.

In its more than two decades operating on the Costa del Sol, the park has become known for prioritising welfare over business interests through its collaboration with the European Endangered Species Programme.

Selwo Aventura reopened its doors this year on 16 February after its usual winter break. This 2024 season will see improvements to the park's facilities, with special attention to the area where numerous birds from Africa are housed. Selwo Aventura, as the veterinary centre of the Selwo Marina park in Benalmádena, will also refurbish its necropsy room, where studies of deceased specimens are carried out. There, samples of organs and fluids are taken for the genetic study of the animals.

Eloy Serrano, chief curator of Selwo Aventura, said he has never been fond of the traditional idea of a zoo. "When I started out as a zoologist, my idea of what it involved was not very favourable," the man pointed out, who started his career at Madrid Zoo and has been working in Estepona for the past seven years.

"Whether you call it a reserve or a zoo, they are animals that live in captivity. The important thing is that now in these institutions, conservation, recovery and environmental education are the priority, at least since 2003," he added.

Of Selwo Aventura he said it is like an "African safari". "We have evolved a lot, first within the zoos themselves, because before it was all about being able to see the animal; now it's about their welfare and the development of conservation projects."

Most popular

Serrano said the elephants had become the zoo's most popular animal. They currently have two: Mogor, an eleven-year-old Asian male, and Jangoli, a 54-year-old female.

Serrano, who has 21 keepers under his care, said the bond between keeper and animal is important at the Estepona animal park. "The keepers do have a great closeness, because they are very involved. There is a bond. This is not like switching off a computer," the zoologist, who is in charge of no less than a thousand animals spread over 108 species, said.

Among all of them, Cynara stands out, a female Iberian lynx daughter of Esperanza, who was found in a critical condition in a tree hole in Doñana and was just the second to breed in captivity at the Zoobotánico de Jerez de la Frontera.

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