Namal, the orphan elephant


Namal is a three year old baby elephant who lost part of his leg in a snare trap. He is one of 28 orphans being raised at a sanctuary in Udawalawe national park, but unlike the others, it’s unlikely he’ll ever be strong enough to be returned to the wild. For now, he’s small enough for his keeper, twenty six year old Salinda to be able to attach a prosthetic leg to help him get around, but sadly he faces a very lonely future.

To zoo or not to zoo

I may not be a great fan of zoo’s in general. And I’m certainly not a huge fan of Fuengirola on the Spanish Costa del Sol (too many tourists, too few remains of the original architecture). But hey, when you’ve got kids, you start realising that a few of your convictions may need modifying.

After all, when your five year old daughter wants to see a tiger, what good does it do that you don’t really agree with keeping animals belonging in the Indian jungle in enclosures where people pay to watch them? You guessed right. We are now the proud owners of annual passes to the zoo closest to us. The Fuengirola Zoo, or as it’s officially called : Bioparc Fuengirola.

Our son and his friend planning some monkey business!

And we love it! Because let’s face it. The animals here are not taken from the wild. They are brought in from other zoos. And although they are not leading the lives intended for their species, they are serving the essential purpose of making us love them, respect them and hopefully care enough to do something to save the rights of their brothers and sisters in the wild.

Something that makes our trips to the zoo easier to swallow is of course that Bioparc Fuengirola is a modern zoo. They treat the animals well, and they are enthusiastic about their rights both within the park itself, as well as their extended families in the wild. This year they are supporting the EAZA Ape campaign which is all about raising awareness as well as funds for the conservation of apes in the wild. Did you know that all apes are currently under threat from hunting, deforestation and disease?  We didn’t either prior to our last visit to the zoo!

They may not be native to the Costa del Sol, but they sure make it more interesting!

We tend to go to the Fuengirola Zoo on weekdays to avoid the weekend herd. We also avoid the days when the park typically fills with people, like public holidays and during the peak season in August. This is our slightly pathetic attempt to experience the animals without being interrupted by too many screaming children! We like to spend a long time studying each animal, and we always come home with fond memories of our new acquaintances.

Fuengirola Zoo is open EVERY DAY from 10 am. The closing time varies according to the time of year. During July and August the park remains open until midnight, allowing for a special night time visit where you can see  the nocturnal animals. A very exciting thing to do if your kids are old enough to stay awake!

Check out their schedule for other times of the year here.

Prices: Adults 16 euros, children (3 – 9) 11 euros.


Are you looking for a child friendly place to stay during your visit to Fuengirola? We fell in love with Family Siesta! Check out our post about their refreshing take on holiday accomodation.