Selwo in Estepona is advertised as exotic fun for the whole family, where you can watch wild animals by driving around the alleys in a typical safari car.
Looking at Selwo's website, I imagined we would find a mini Game Park, like the ones we used to go to quite often when we lived in South Africa. Animals in such reserves follow their instincts and are not crowded in cages or not-so-big parcels. Naturally, I understand it is impossible in Europe to provide a home for lions, ostriches, giraffes, African monkeys, or tropical lizards in an open area, but I would have expected the stands for large species to be at least as spacious if the park advertised itself as a safari park.
Few pics from Africa...
Here giraffes stood stretching their long necks into feeders/hay bins and could do just that because there was not too much place to walk, the same for zebras, antelopes, and other ungulates.
Not all zoos, or parks where exotic animals are kept in captivity, are scientific centers, such as those where biologists try to preserve and restore species threatened with extinction. However, such seemingly positive activities also bring a lot of controversies. It is evident to me that such places exist only to make money. Selwo in Estepona prides itself on being part of a network of organizations with the animals' best interests at heart, but did you know that only about 3% of the Zoo's budget is allocated to conservation projects?
Is watching these beautiful and diverse creatures, 90% of which were born in captivity and the rest taken from their natural habitat under force, supposed to evoke empathy, especially in children? It seems to me that only if we know how they got there and why they are there. What are kids supposed to be taught by visiting such parks? What do you think about it?
If you and your children are interested in visiting a nice zoo, I recommend both in Estepona and BIO PARK in Fuengirola, which, after all, my friends and I liked more. However, watching a cheetah, which will never be able to run several tens of kilometers reaching its record speeds, in the Zoo is doomed to walk senselessly in circles behind protective glass, and other animals trying to avoid the ubiquitous eyes of onlookers don't make me feel happy and relaxed. The animals do not seek human company in their natural habitats, and you must try to see them. I don't want to mention the dolphin park in Benalmadena. You can take a trip from the port in Benalmadena to see them in their natural habitat.
PS I did not write this text to make anyone feel guilty or angry... I visit such places myself from time to time. I did not want to spoil my young child's joy of seeing the animals. Intrusive ads lure children to various attractions, and we parents - after all, want our children to have fun. My concern was that questioning the Zoo as the most appropriate place for animals might be too difficult for young children to understand. Well, maybe I had some impact that my son began to think about this early. And I would like more and more people to read what zoos are NOT (at This link, or Here you can read more). I hope that soon keeping animals in captivity for entertainment and financial benefits will stop being one of the ways to spend family time. After all, there are many alternative opportunities to admire free animals in their natural habitats.
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