Donana National Park, a private park accessible only via ferry and 4WD is an important ecosystem, particularly wetlands, in Spain. Apart from a range of bird life, including the Spanish imperial eagle, it also is home to wild boar, iberian linx, several types of deer and wild horses.
The only way to get in is via the tour company, which meant you get shepherded onto the ferry, bundled onto the bus, bundled off the bus for smoko half way through, and bundled back onto the ferry to Sanlucar de Barrameda.
Apart from a Swiss woman, everyone else on the bus was Spanish – the tour guide delivered the commentary in Spanish, fortunately at a measured pace so I could get the gist of things. Plastic bags are a huge problem for sea life – especially turtles who mistake the bags for jellyfish and suffer fatal consequences.
Fellow travellers were very excited as we tootled up sandy tracks, saw a wild horse, deer and several wild boar. Most of the birds have gone south for winter, although we did see one eagle hovering overhead. The area has also been invaded by eucalyptus trees, brought to Spain for paper pulp.
The marshes, dunes and natural pine forest didn’t move me as much as my fellow travellers whom, I believe, must essentially be city dwellers whose main experience of the natural environment is an avenue of trees or small manicured park in their home town. We’re privileged in Australia to have the amazing national parks that we do, with the extraordinary wildlife that we have.