Doñana National Park to be expanded


The Andalucian government plans to expand Doñana National Park in an effort to save the iconic area that is threatened by illegal drainage and climate change – although critics argue it is not enough.

Andalucia's regional president Juan Moreno announced his administration's plan to allow the park to annex some 7,500 ha that it plans to purchase from a private owner for €70 million.

Doñana's wetlands host a wide range of waterbirds, including Greater Flamingo (Steve Mulligan).

However, Andalucia's government also has plans to extend irrigation rights for farmers near the park, a move that UNESCO, Spain's central government and ecologists have criticised for putting more pressure on the wetlands.

Spain's Ecological Transition Minister, Teresa Ribera, applauded the planned expansion of the park, but she said that adding more land wouldn't solve the problem of water scarcity in the area. She also insisted that Andalucia drop its plans to expand irrigation near Doñana.

Doñana is home to one of Europe's largest wetlands and an abundance of wildlife. However, the national park in southern Spain is on the verge of extinction due to an array of threats including illegal water irrigation practices. Last September, the last remaining wetland was reduced to a puddle after a relentless drought.

A detailed feature profiling Doñana and the many threats it faces can be read in the September 2023 issue of Birdwatch magazine.