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Vistors gather around a globe in the Discovery room.

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Vistors gather around a globe in the Discovery room. L. Cádiz
Conservation

Bioparc Fuengirola: a 'world benchmark' that combines conservation with 300,000 visitors a year

The Costa animal park has opened a 10m euro expansion of its facilities where "tourism, research and information sharing" come together

Lorena Cádiz

Fuengirola

Friday, 21 June 2024

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It is now 23 years since Bioparc opened its doors in Fuengirola, offering a new concept in the animal park world, far removed from the zoo that previously occupied the premises in the heart of the town. It broke new ground in many ways: it was one of the first experiences on the Costa del Sol of projects based on public-private collaboration and it offered for the first time to local visitors and tourists the possibility of zoo-immersion or, in other words, the possibility of going far beyond the mere contemplation of an exotic animal.

On Monday this week, many years later, Bioparc officially opened the expansion of its facilities: some 2,800 square metres with an investment of 10 million euros. At the ceremony emphasis was once again placed on the important work the animal park does. "Bioparc offers tourism, culture, research, conservation and information sharing," said the Junta de Andalucía's minister of Tourism. Arturo Bernal also spoke of Bioparc being a "a reference in the world", to which zoologists from very diverse backgrounds come to export the animal park model to other countries. It also currently welcomes over 300,000 visitors a year.

Under the title The Infinite Journey, Rain Forest (the park's management company) has worked for six years on this expansion. Architects, sculptors and designers worked hand in hand with veterinarians and biologists so that the discovery centre and animals could come together in the same space.

"No child can go without seeing an exotic animal in person. Not all of us can go to Africa to see them," said president of Rain Forest José Maldonado, when he explained the motivation for the project which started more than two decades ago.

Baby Komodo dragons and The Infinite Journey lead you through a world of nature

L. Cádiz

The Infinite Journey at Bioparc, inspired by the explorers Magellan and Elcano, begins in a plaza presided over by an eight-metre-high sphere. There are also baby Komodo dragons. From there you go to the saltwater aquarium room in which you can see dozens of types of anemones and corals. The route continues in the navigation room with the largest freshwater fish in South America. And, finally, there is a 14-metre-high aviary that contains a jungle in which species of birds and mammals from central and southern America coexist.

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