Experts warn famous Spanish national park could dry out

Madrid — Environmentalists are warning that one of Europe’s most celebrated conservation wetlands could dry out completely, endangering rare wildlife and thousands of jobs.

The World Wildlife Fund says in a report that southern Spain’s Donana National Park is at risk from excessive water extraction. Proposals for dredging, mining and gas storage are also threatening the park.

The WWF says Donana is “the star of Europe’s protected areas.” It receives around 6 million migratory birds each year and is home to the world’s rarest feline species, the Iberian lynx.

It is also one of the biggest strawberry-producing areas of the world, earning some 400 million euros ($450 million) annually.

But the WWF says the park has lost over 80 percent of its natural marshes since the turn of the 20th century.