In the summer of 2017, Lars and I came up with the idea of spending a short holiday in Luxembourg (the country, not the Belgian province). At that time, we had driven through this tiny country and apart from visiting the wine region, we had never really explored the rest of it. Unfortunately, after one day, we had to change our plans completely, mainly because it was raining the whole time and the weather forecast looked even gloomier. After a short deliberation, we drove south and ended up in Freiburg (Germany).
Not only was the weather a lot better there, I quickly discovered, after some nosing around on the Internet and careful consultation of some maps, that this location would allow us to fulfil a dream we had been cherishing for quite some years: a visit to the Alternative Wolf and Bear Park Black Forest. It would mean having to drive about 90 kilometres to the north, but then we could make a nice day trip out of it. Which is exactly what we did.
The Alternative Wolf and Bear Park Black Forest is not a nature or animal park and certainly not a zoo. It is a sanctuary that takes care of bears that have had a miserable life in circuses, zoos, nature parks or with private owners. It also houses a group of wolves and a couple of lynxes.
Around the sanctuary is a hiking path which you have to follow, allowing you to have a good look at its inhabitants. The first animals that Lars and I saw were some very playful bear cubs.
You could ask yourself why these bears are simply not released in the wild. The answer is that this is impossible. The first reason is that most of these animals have become used to the presence of humans; moreover, because of their past, these bears haven’t developed the necessary skills to cope with the challenges of a natural environment. In other words, releasing them in the wild can have devastating consequences.
Keep on following the path and you will soon see the adult bears, which are really magnificent creatures! At the entry, you can pick up a brochure with detailed information about each of them and pictures, allowing you to recognize them. Take your time and you will also be able to make some beautiful close-ups.
Although the sanctuary takes really good care of its animals, some of them don’t survive a long time. One of the bears that Lars and I could observe sadly passed away a couple of months later.
I was extremely lucky when photographing some of the wolves, simply because they were very close to the fence when I passed there!
With the lynxes, on the other hand, I was far less lucky. We could hardly observe them, let alone photograph them. Lars and I waited for a long time and eventually gave up…
Anyway, after your visit, it is possible to have a drink and a snack at reasonable prices.
The Alternative Wolf and Bear Park Black Forest is not the only one of its kind in Germany. There is another one in the Harz region, which was, by the way, established earlier. Luckily for you, I have visited that sanctuary as well and will feature it later on this website.
Interested? Have a look here then. This is the exact address:
Alternativer Wolf- und Bärenpark Schwarzwald
Rippoldsauer Strasse 36/1
77776 Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach