Cabarceno Natural Park
|Land area||750 ha (1,900 acres)|
|Number of species||>112|
|Major exhibits||Raptors, sea lions|
The natural park is located in Cabárceno, Pisueña Valley (region of Pas-Miera) 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Santander, located in a former iron mine removal in the town of Cabárceno Township Penagos (Cantabria, Spain). The park belongs to Cantur, a public company to promote tourism under the Government of Cantabria.
Cabárceno park develops two roles: one related to the conservation of endangered species and the other one related to environmental education.
The park is known for the semi-freedom of their animals, but also has botanical routes that let you see different types of plants, usually located next to the most visited places.
The natural park of Cabárceno is neither a conventional zoo nor a natural park (parque natural) in the normal Spanish use of the term. It is a naturalized space reclaimed from 750 hectares (1,900 acres) of a former open pit mine to the primitive beauty of the karst landscape.
The natural park is home to a hundred animal species from five continents living in semi-free conditions, which are distributed in large enclosures where one or more species coexist.
In this park life develops in the best natural environment to the animals that inhabit it. Except for food provided to them, the rest of the activities are marked by their almost total freedom and instinct. Almost all of them trigger fights and mating season struggles for control of females and, of course, the rest of their senses are as wild as it will be in their natural habitat.
Today, because of its sheer quality, the facilities of the nature park of Cabárceno are among the most valued by organizations that monitor the living conditions of animals.
Cabárceno, which is designed for educational, cultural, scientific and recreational reasons, has become one of the greatest tourist attractions of northern Spain.
More than 20 kilometres (12 mi) of roads that cross the park lead to different venues across gorges, lakes, and suggestive rock figures. Also throughout the park are numerous parking areas and trails.
In Cabárceno reptiles have their place too. They show their most hidden secrets in heated enclosures ready for them to live.
The most feared poisonous snakes on the planet (cobras, rattlesnakes, giant snakes, etc.) and unique turtles and lizards in the world, reveal to the visitors the splendor and peculiarities of their lifestyle.
The reptiles' section is located at the entrance of Obregon Park, next to the café La Mina.
The park has a great variety of animal species in the wild too. For example:
- Sable Antelope
- Domestic ass
- European bison
- Water buffalo
- Grevy's zebra
- Pere David Deer
- Cobo lichi
- Common Eland
- African Elephant
- Western Lowland Gorilla
- Spotted hyena
- Pygmy hippopotamus
- Grizzly bear
- Olive baboons
- White Rhinoceros
- Blue Wildebeest
The Nature Park Cabárceno hosts throughout the year thousands of people and this is a permanent effort in improving the facilities for animals and visitors to be the most comfortable as possible.
The facilities that host animals are internationally recognized as one of the best there exist in the world.
Among the facilities available at the Park can be found: nursing, public phones, ATM, reptiles, environmental classroom, picnic areas, several parking areas, self-service, cafeteria, restaurant, souvenir shops ...
More over Cabárceno has a wide and varied cuisine. From snacks and menus to a wide and varied menu. This divided by the Park, to spend a full day in the park.
- Restaurant “Bears”:
Located in the heart of the Park, opposite the exhibition of ostriches and antelopes. Bright and spacious cafeteria, where you can enjoy a variety of snacks, sandwiches and drinks. Has a nice terrace with the bear enclosure in the background. The Restaurant "Bears" has a capacity for 280 diners with a wide and varied menu, menus, and children's menu. It also has a souvenir shop.
- Self – service “The farm”:
Located in the area of environmental education, has a capacity of 400 guests. It has menus and dishes.
- Restaurant “Holly lake”:
Located next to the elephant enclosure and the lake of the same name. It is a place of great beauty and tranquility. In this café serves meals, snacks, etc. ...
- Restaurant “Mine”:
Located next to the reptile house at the main entrance of the park, has a perfect location at the start of the visit to the Park. It also has a gift shop and terrace.
There have been selected 24 of the 100 woody species in the park in three of the most visited places: tigers, hyenas, wolves and lions and while visitors enjoy these animals the park show them all the different types of trees that are around them.
Botanical paths are paths that are located near to some of the most visited animal enclosures, in which plant species richness of shrub or tree is remarkable and there are no architectural barriers. So with a short walk we see a yew, a holly, an oak, a birch, a linden tree, an olive tree, a beech, a chestnut tree, an oak tree, a walnut, etc.
● Route of the yews, oaks and hickories (tigers around.)
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful gardens and better maintained the park has: yew, oak, walnut, bamboo, birch, olive, oak, pine, cherry, horse chestnut, alder, oaks, holly, cypress, laurels, figs, bananas (not to be confused with bananas), strawberry, real laurel, oleander, Atlas cedar (similar to leaf pines and blue), a ginkgo, an ornamental barberry (Bordeaux color), mock orange, pistosporos, etc. ..
● Route of the birch, linden and beech (enclosures hyenas and wolves).
There are two places where the stocking done by the park trees shows a significant size:
Hyenas: birch, olive, cherry, oak (also known as cajiga or Carbayo), oaks, chestnut oaks, elders, etc.
LOBOS: laurel, willow, oak, lime and beech trees, reforestation that once hosted the Volvo automobile company known as a plaque recalls that once was fixed in these rocks.
● Route of the chestnut and pine (including lions and bison enclosures).
It is one of the open spaces of the park where reforestation has attempted to preserve this aspect, although trees show a significant size, especially with regard to the pines, also has olive trees, oaks, chestnut, fig, maples, oaks, chestnuts pines, which are sandwiched and maritime pine trees, cherry, medlar, oleander, Pyracantha, cordelynes, griñoleras, etc.
Environmental education center
The Environmental Education Workshop Nature Park Cabárceno develops comprehensive and interesting educational programs, with different content for different grade levels between 3 and 18, by which we are taught to love, appreciate and respect our natural environment, wildlife and flora. We are the park, the animal species found there, botany and environmental importance, the major problems of forest conservation and what is in our hands to fix.
They also teach you how to live without depleting natural resources, as they did in the Paleolithic, and to respect the sea knowing some of the species that live in it. It also has the added value of being in a karst landscape where stood an open pit mining in whose precincts now hundreds of animals roam almost freely.
One of the issues that justify the existence of zoos today in addition to the conservation of endangered species is undoubtedly the ability to undertake research to assist the conservation of these species.
So we have pioneered in collaboration with the Deutsches Primatenzentrum and the University of Göttingen (Germany) in the development of techniques that have allowed the knowledge of the sexual cycle in female African elephant by noninvasive methods (using samples feces and urine).
We also collaborate with other behavioral studies of the male African elephant, verifying, also by non-invasive, hormone profiles and thereby study the reason for the highly aggressive showing male elephant at certain times of the year, as well as relation to reproduction, this phenomenon
known by the name "Musht" and in this state, when the male is more dangerous and causes the most accidents that happen with caretakers in zoos and in Africa with the natives.
We work in collaboration with the Department of Reproductive Biotechnology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, León in a project involving the development of a "production technique, semen preservation and application of grizzly bear" with the aim of making available people who work with the brown bear, a tool that allows them to mitigate the extent possible, the serious danger of inbreeding which is our low population den of the Cantabrian Mountains.
At the same time collaborate with several zoos and partnerships in projects of conservation of endangered species like tigers, lions, bobcats, rhinos, etc.
We are part of the most important associations, both national and international, relating to wildlife, so we are members of AIZA and EAZA (Iberian Association of Zoos and Aquaria European) and are integrated in a significant number of protection programs Endangered species threatened with extinction (EEP) and in the herd books (studbook) of most species that we in our facilities.
- "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. EAZA. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Cabárceno Wildlife Park: a world of nature and surprises for the little ones". Turespaña / Segittur. Retrieved 18 January 2013.