Relentlessly hunted and gunned down, the wolf has come perilously close to extinction. Places where this enigmatic predator once prowled in abundance are now either home to just a few wolves or totally bereft of the species. The only traces of the animal still to be found in Andalusia are in the Sierra Morena (Jaén), where just fifty remain.
Shunning the popular tradition that has earned the wolf such a bad name over the centuries, some individuals are now fighting to secure its recovery through a series of information campaigns. One such figure is Daniel Weigend, a psychologist by profession, who, while looking into the eyes of a wolf one day, was so moved by the animal’s gaze that he founded Lobo Park.
Located at the heart of a natural setting, El Torcal de Antequera, this 40- hectare plus enclosure is the only theme park in existence devoted to this particular predator. It is home to four sub-species of the animal: the European, Iberian, American Timber and rare Polar wolves. All can be clearly viewed in guided tours that explain to the visitor how they communicate, play, hunt and feed.
The Lobo Park project is beginning to bear fruit: the birth of four Russian wolf clubs and one of the polar variety represent a huge step forward, particularly in the case of the latter species, since it is the first example of captive reproduction to be found anywhere in the world.
In summer, a veritable weekend concert of howls will delight the ears of tourists following a succulent barbeque enjoyed in the park’s dinning area. And initiative introduced in 2005 aims to provide visitors with more audiovisual involvement by enabling them to witness Daniel communicating with the wolves through a series of howls beneath the most lycanthropic moon to be found anywhere in the human and animal kingdoms.
However, our lupine friend is not the park’s only attraction. Its farm school is inhabited by other types of prowler that will delight the younger visitor: ducks, hens, goats, the currently –popular Vietnamese pig and sheep are all totally at home here, not forgetting, of course, the smartest creature of them all – Oscar the fox.
A visit to Lobo Park is an experience that is an enjoyable and original as it is educative. When we have taken a closer, look at these enigmatic animals, after dancing and howling with them in the moonlight, we will be left asking just one question: who’s still afraid of the big, bad wolf?
ADDRESS: Ctra. Antequera- Álora (A343), km. 16. Antequera
November – April: 10 to 18. Mondays to Sundays
May – October: 10 to 20. Mondays to Sundays