Awareness of innovation leads to excellence. We have the largest Camel Reserve in Europe, a marvellous situation we are trying to use to the utmost advantage through a pioneering project: the production and future marketing of camel milk, which is of excellent nutritional value and provides numerous benefits for people with diabetes. Although unknown by most, this is a particularly innovative project for people who thought camels would become just another domesticated animal. Nothing further from the truth: in addition to contributing to the conservation of the species, we are researching the possibility of marketing this product next year.
The nature we deal with in this area goes beyond animal wildlife. We also have our Canary Island flora, another key element. These could be medicinal or ornamental plants, plants used for fodder or food... This project studies our native flora, which is sometimes treated unfairly in spite of its enormous potential.
We are also involved in other projects regarding wetlands, clean energies, desalination plants, technological improvements and self-sufficiency, including the large scale production of fodder.
Camel milk has nutritional values that, in many aspects, are superior to those of other types of milk usually marketed. The most outstanding feature is its high content in vitamins and low levels of fat. The goal of this project is to market camel milk. Consequently, we are studying aspects connected with obtaining the milk (feed, milking) as well as the chemical composition and beneficial properties of this product. This project consists in a feasibility study and, subsequently, once all the significant variables have been examined, in the industrial scale production of the milk.
This is a project with a great future involving a domestic animal that is extremely popular, especially in the eastern Canary Islands, where it adapts perfectly to the desert climate but that, until a few decades ago, seemed doomed to become extinct as it was no longer needed for farming, a task for which it used to be essential. Oasis Park currently has the largest herd of camels in Europe (more than 300 animals); apart from investigating the possibilities of marketing its milk, we also contribute to the conservation of this animal on our islands, where it has been recognised as a separate species, known as the Canary Island camel.
Canary Island flora is rich and varied, consisting of about 2,000 species, of which almost 600 are exclusive to our archipelago. This great potential offers a wide range of possibilities: medicinal plants, ornamental plants, fodder, plants for industrial uses... the options are many but, to date, few Canary Island plants have been studied in relation to the above-mentioned uses.
The project mainly focuses on ornamental plants. The idea is to find plants that meet a series of requirements; they must be beautiful and have ornamental value, they must be easy to grow and be free from legal impediments regarding their cultivation, i.e., they must be species that are well distributed and not in danger of becoming extinct. Some significant progress has been made and we have found a number of species that meet these requirements. Growing them in ecological conditions (absence of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers) provides high quality seeds that will improve the variety of ornamental plants adapted to the natural conditions of the Canary Islands and that can be made available to plant nurseries and to gardening enthusiasts.
Designed to improve the international dissemination of zoological-botanical research projects and of zoological resources, as well as to improve and implement Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with the cooperation of the Canary Island Agency for Innovation, Research and Information Society. Regarding current communications and technology, we are implementing in-depth changes and improvements given the increase in the number of visitors that demand new services and amenities (more powerful servers, WiFi services covering the perimeter of the park in order to install surveillance cameras in the facilities housing animals and, thus, improve our conservation programmes).
This consists in the installation of solar panels to supply power to the restaurants and other areas of the park, a wind turbine, electric vehicles and the purchase of a desalination plant to produce fresh water. This will promote the use of clean energy that will contribute to our sustainable development.
The park has extensive grassy areas and many animals that generate a large amount of organic waste on a daily basis. Until now, this waste was taken to a landfill. However, it has an enormous potential as organic fertiliser (compost) that can be used in the future. The project fully complies with our sustainable development guidelines imposed by the company from the outset.
The composting plant is based on well-tested technology used in many countries, mainly in Central Europe, where there is a long tradition of producing compost. Its adaptation to the climate in Fuerteventura will not be difficult, resulting in a high-quality organic product that will help us optimise resources and reduce costs.
Fuerteventura has a dry climate and natural wetland areas are scarce. In addition, these areas are of a seasonal nature and dry up every summer or even go without water for several years. However, they support a surprising variety of waterfowl while also serving as refuge, providing rest and food, to many species of migratory birds that fly over the island every Spring and Autumn.
We have prepared a number of permanent freshwater ponds of considerable size surrounded by vegetation in the Park. This provides nesting species that are under threat in other parts of the country, such as the ruddy shelduck and the marbled teal, to have a habitat to nest, especially in dry years when there are few suitable sites. These ponds are also essential for migratory birds, which need quiet and safe places to rest.
The ponds are provided with observation posts and contribute to the environmental education to which Oasis Park is fully committed.
The zoo’s many herbivores (camels, animals from the African savannah, donkeys and many others) consume enormous amounts of vegetable matter each day. A large part is produced within the Park but the project to run a farm dedicated exclusively to producing fodder will result in the self-supply of 100% of this item. The farm earmarked for this purpose is in Goroy Valley, in the centre of Fuerteventura. It mainly produces alfalfa, but also other crops, some of which are new on the island, such as Moringa oleifera (drumstick tree), which has highly promising properties, and a plant known as maralfalfa grass.
The large scale production of fodder will not only enable the Park to become self-sufficient, the produce can also be sold on the island, where many live-stock farmers need high-quality feed for their herds at affordable prices. Currently, most of these products have to be imported, resulting in very high running costs in the production of milk and cheese.
Designed to produce more than 900 m3/day and powered by wind energy. Although the Park already has a desalination plant, the high demand for water requires the construction of a new one that will be based on state-of-the-art technology. This plant will feature a sophisticated energy recovery system, achieving an exceptionally high conversion factor of 40%. In addition, most of the energy consumed by the new plant will be generated by wind turbines that we are also planning on building with a view to generating clean energy for the entire Park, which is another way of implementing our sustainable development concept.