The Junta de Andalucia closes the Ojen Eco Reserve to the public

Animals and humans get on together Credit: Ojen Eco Reserve Facebook

THE Junta de Andalucia closes the Ojen Eco Reserve to the public and threatens a fine of €131,000 for alleged breaches of safety of visitors and welfare of the animals.

Just 10 kilometres away from Marbella, the reserve was created in 2015 in an area of 82 hectares as a natural sanctuary for all manner of wildlife.

It’s not a zoo but a former hunting ground which is now home to large numbers of wild boar, deer, mouflon and mountain goats and has been open to the public as well as schools who could visit and enjoy learning about the many animals and birds sheltered in its environment.

The majority there are used to humans and appear content to interact with visitors, many of whom help to plant trees, clear debris and support the reserve financially as it in turn attracts visitors to spend money in the town and its restaurants.

A delegation consisting of Double A – Animal Advocacy, PACMA Andalucia and Antonio Calvo from the Ojen Ecological Reserve visited the offices of the Junta de Andalucia on February 26 to receive a copy of the file denouncing the reserve.

According to an inspection which took place in 2020, the main complaints concern a failure to alert the Junta of its facilities and procedures prior to opening the park and for keeping wild boar and foxes on the grounds without holding legal documentation.

The management of the Ojen Eco Reserve considers the punishment disproportionate and believed that the matters raised from the inspection had been resolved so despite urgently requesting a meeting with the Territorial Delegate of Malaga, they claim to have received no response.

They further claim that since the inspection, specialised personnel have been hired and facilities have been built to guarantee the care of fauna and animal welfare.

In addition, conservation, environmental education and bio-sanitary programmes have been created as well as numerous roads and firebreaks at no cost to the Andalucian Government.

They argue further that if an injured wild animal enters the reserve, they are not in a position to ask for its ID or licence, but must look after it and return it to health.

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