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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 (18381908) 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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