From wwf.panda.org, Gland, Switzerland, December 28,2013– WWF joins the people of Spain in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the designation of Doñana’s Biological Reserve. WWF’s purchase of the land helped set the organization on the path to protect priority places and species around the world.
Located where the Guadalquivir River reaches the Atlantic Ocean, Spain’s Coto Doñana is considered one of the most valuable wetlands in Europe. The region is a sanctuary for millions of migratory birds and endangered species, including the imperial eagle and Iberian lynx.
Doñana and the area stretching from there to Alegeciras are a bird watcher’s paradise during the autumn migration to Africa, as birds stop at Spain’s end to rest before crossing the Straits of Gibraltar.
And here’s the link to the El País article (in Spanish) and slideshow (“Fotogalería): http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/03/03/eps/1393854517_829114.html
Background information from the Wikipedia–Doñana National Park is a natural reserve in Andalusia, southern Spain, in the provinces of Huelva and Seville. It covers 543 km2 (209.65 sq mi), of which 135 km2 (52.12 sq mi) are a protected area. The park is an area of marsh, shallow streams, and sand dunes in Las Marismas, the Guadalquivir River Delta region where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It was established as a nature reserve in 1969 when the World Wildlife Fund joined with the Spanish government and purchased a section of marshes to protect it. There has been a constant threat to the eco-system, that of drainage of the marshes, the use of river water to boost agricultural production by irrigating land along the coast, and the expansion of tourist facilities.
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. 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.