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History

The Anholter Schweiz park's official name is Leopold Park after its founder prince Leopold zu Salm-Salm. Its popular name came about because the park supposed to be a copy of Lake Lucerne and its surroundings in Switzerland. And the German word for Switzerland is Schweiz, while Anholt is the municipality where the park is located.

mausoleum zu salm-salmThe official establishment and naming of the park by prince Leopold (1838-1908) was done on 24 April 1892. The park has always been directly connected to the gardens of the Salm-Salm family's palace, the Wasserburg Anholt, via a meadow, which is turned into a golf course nowadays.

Prince Leopold had the park created as a remembrance of his honeymoon to Switzerland. In the nearby forested area and wetlands garden designer Biesenbach dug out a lake shaped like Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) and built hills on its shores. Rocks, boulders and wood came to Anholt by boat via the river, while horse and carriage covered the last stage of the trip. In order to be able to transport the boulders to its destination across the wetland area they used a specially designed light railway track. The rock formations were copied as accurately as possible, which required rocks that were hard to find in the immediate vicinity.

In the centre of the lake an island was created that could only be reached by a small ferry. On the island a two-story chalet was erected that had been designed in Interlaken in Switzerland and assembled in Anholt by the local carpenter. Years later, the island was made better accessible via a boardwalk, and the chalet is now the Swiss House ('Schweizer Häuschen') where you can wine and dine during the park's opening hours.

The park around the lake was mainly an alpine garden with a great variety of vegetation such as alpine primroses, gentian, black pine trees, cedar trees, rhododendron, fir trees, cypress tree and others.

Already in 1900 the Leopold Park was extended. Land was bought, water surfaces enlarged and paths were built. Also at that time deer were introduced for the first time. In addition 2,500 oaks and alders, and 5,500 spruce and ash trees were planted. Simultaneously, the park was opened to the general public, which required the attendance of a park warden. However, from then on the Park was gradually transferred into a game reserve and became a popular hunting ground with the Swiss House as the centre.

After World War II when the Park was heavily damaged prince Nikolaus zu Salm-Salm decided to rebuild the area, and opened it to the public as Wildlife Park Anholter Schweiz in 1968. The prince indicated that only indigenous animal species should be kept at the Park.

To honour the 100th year anniversary of the Park, now listed as a historic and to be preserved area – and still part of the entire estate owned by the Salm-Salm family, prince Carl Phillip decided on a further extension. Between 1990 and 1993 the current Wildlife Park of 56 hectares was created with animal species living in their natural habitats.

 

(Source: Information panel at Biotopwildpark Anholter Schweiz; website Biotopwildpark Anholter Schweiz; Wikipedia)

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

 

"Tiger map" (CC BY 2.5) by Sanderson et al., 2006.

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