This natural enclave is one of the most important in Europe. It is an extremely important wintering, migratory and breeding area for many bird species. Furthermore, it is one of the last havens for endangered wildlife species such as the Imperial eagle or the Iberian lynx. Some of the features that make Doñana unique are its Mediterranean climate with Atlantic influences, geographical location between two continents, exceptional productivity, inaccessibility and diversity of environments.
Doñana National Park covers an area of 54,251 ha in the municipalities of Almonte and Hinojos (Huelva), and Aznalcázar and La Puebla del Río (Seville). The territory shelters a mosaic of ecosystems of high ecological value, including marshlands, mobile dunes, hunting preserves, fixed sands, pine forests, beaches and an ecotonal or transition area between sand and clay called “La Vera”.
The international relevance of Doñana National Park, one of the most important in Europe, is confirmed by prestigious international recognitions and its membership in supranational networks of extraordinary prestige. Doñana National Park was recognised as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme in 1981. In 1982, it was included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance for waterfowl under the Ramsar Convention. In 1985, the Council of Europe granted to the National Park the European Diploma for Protected Area Management that has been renewed every four years until today. In 1988, it was declared a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA). In 1994, on its 25th anniversary, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Furthermore, the area has been proposed by the Autonomous Community of Andalusia to integrate the Natura 2000 Network as a Site of Community Importance (SCI) under Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992.
The marshlands and lagoons represent the Wet Doñana. Conversely, cork oak groves, pine forests, scrublands, beaches and dunes identify the Dry Doñana.
The lynx (Lynx pardinus) and the mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), both native Iberian mammals, inhabit the Park and are protected throughout Spain. The area is also home to wild cats, foxes, genets, European polecats and badgers. The abundant wild rabbit population is one of the most critical ecological pillars of this Park.
As for the bird species found in Doñana, the majestic Spanish Imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) is undoubtedly the most iconic. The flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is another endangered species that have bred in the Park in recent years. Countless other birds live and nest in this beautiful place.
One of Europe’s largest populations of the white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) live in Doñana.
Carps are the most abundant fish in the marshlands. The European tree frog (Hyla arborea) breed on the edge of the lagoons. In the woodlands live the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) of great scientific interest. Fallow deer, deer, wild boar and otters abound in the lagoons and forest.
Also worthy of note is the presence throughout the Park of the Mostrenca cattle (Bos taurus tartesus), a primitive breed of cattle.