Orsa Rovdjurspark is a predator park. However, before you start getting all judgmental – this is a different kind of place. We were invited to come here, and we are really glad that we did! This is a special place where they have closed off a piece of nature. This is not a place with animals in small cages. Not a typical zoo, but a park that houses some animals and where you come to learn more – most in favor of the animals.
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Orsa Rovdjurspark – part of a bigger picture
It’s always a dilemma for us when we visit places that keep animals locked up. We had that in mind while visiting Orsa Rovdjurspark. We even decided that, if this place wasn’t good, we wouldn’t post about it. However, this place is different than a lot of other places we have visited. And in a good way! Our favorite part is that the staff working here are super knowledgeable and honest.
Before our visit to the predator park, we got to sit down and talk to one of the managers here. We get to ask lots of questions and we feel that she answer our questions honestly. We talk about the problem with running a place that keeps animals locked up and the different ups and downs with running an animal park.
Orsa Rovdjurspark is part of Orsa Gronklitt
Yes, this place is also run to create profits. However, it’s not as important here as in many other zoos and animal parks. This place is part of Orsa Gronklitt. This means that, if the park is not making a profit, they can still keep this place open due to the other places. Orsa Grönklitt also has several hotels, campings, and ski resorts. And all these combined, make up for the money that might get lost in one place or another.
While a lot of animal parks are struggling to stay alive, Orsa Rovdjurspark can rely on the whole concept and are not as strained as other places. But, with that said – they are still keeping this park as an income and to make profits. This place has a rich history and is special for several different reasons.
3 rules for Orsa Rovdjurspark
Being a member of “Europeiska djurparksföreningen” (an organization for zoos) they have committed to several things that are important for running a place with animals. There are a lot of rules and regulations that they need to follow but there are three special ones that are most important. They are as listed here below:
- Conservation of animals – the most important part. They are working to prevent animals from getting endangered or even worse… extinct.
- Information and education – visit Orsa Rovdjurspark and learn something new about the animals here. As soon as you enter, you have lots and lots of information on pamphlets, tv-monitors, and guided tours. Learn how you should act if you come in contact with a bear in the wild. Or a wolf. Yes, you can (and will) learn lots of things during your visit here.
- Research – Also an important part of this place. They research their bears and learn about their lives and patterns.
Did you know that about 50 percent of animals that live in the wild die prematurely?
A short history of Orsa Rovdjurspark
It all started with a ski resort and people starting to coming to the town being tourists. Anders Björklund came up with an idea to create a large bear park where visitors could learn more about these magnificent animals. Said and done! And what’s great was that they would fence off a piece of the bear’s natural environment and didn’t need to create a brand new home for them. Today, the park has grown and houses lots of other animals and not just bears.
However, all of the animals are predators from the northern regions. Over the years, this place has grown bigger and today it prides itself on being Europe’s largest predator park. You can easily spend the whole day here, walking around, enjoying the animals (if you are lucky enough to see them). It’s a big place where you want to get lost and stroll around by yourself.
It’s not guaranteed that you will see all the animals since their fences are really big!
The animals at the park
One of the most impressive animals that are kept here is the polar bears. In fact, this is the largest fenced-in place for polar bears in the whole world! They do a lot of research here on these incredible animals and their goal is to be the first park in the world that gets them to mate. So far, they haven’t been successful but fingers crossed that it will become a reality.
Inside the park, they also have the Eurasian Eagle-owl. This is the only animal in the park that they are allowed to release into the wild and they are part of such a project. In fact, they are part of several different projects but this one is one that stuck with us. It really feels like this place has animals at heart compared to several different kinds of zoos. However, there is still room for improvement.
Latin name: Canis lupus.
Specimen still in the wild: 100 000 – 200 000.
Weight: Up to 75 kilos.
Age: Up to 16 years.
Latin name: Ursus Maritimus.
Specimen still in the wild: 20 000 – 25 000.
Weight: Up to 800 kilos.
Age: Between 20 to 30 years.
Latin name: Panthera Unica.
Specimen still in the wild: 3 500 – 7 000.
Weight: 35 – 55 kilos.
Age: 10 – 15 years.
Latin name: Ursus Arctos Beringianus.
Specimen still in the wild: 10 000.
Weight: up to 700 kilos.
Age: Around 30 years.
Latin name: Panthera Tigris.
Specimen still in the wild: Around 450.
Weight: 100 – 300 kilos.
Age: About 15 years.
Swedish Brown bear
Latin name: Ursus Arctos.
Specimen still in the wild: Roughly 3 000 left in Sweden.
Weight: Up to 300 kilos.
Age: Up to 30 years.
Latin name: Panthera pardus Saxicolor.
Specimen still in the wild: 800 – 1 200.
Weight: 30 – 70 kilos.
Age: Up to 20 years.
Latin name: Gulo Gulo.
Specimen still in the wild: 600 in Sweden.
Weight: 10 – 25 kilos.
Latin name: Ursus Arctos Middendorf.
Specimen still in the wild: 3 500.
Weight: 300 – 800 kilos.
Age: Up to 30 years.
Latin name: Lynx Lynx.
Specimen still in the wild: About 1 800 in Sweden.
Weight: 15 – 30 kilos.
Criticize with facts
It’s easy to visit a zoo or animal park and sit on high horses, criticizing everything. However, at Orsa Rovdjurspark, the animals really are in focus. A lot of animals are ending up in zoos from other places where they have had terrible conditions. This means that you might see an animal walking back and forth in its cage and it’s a previous condition that it has learned. Don’t blame the place that houses the animal without getting all the facts.
At this place, the cages are more like fenced-in huge places. We ended up looking for the wolves for over two hours and no luck. They kept to themselves out in the woods somewhere and didn’t get close to the fence. And that’s the way it should be – animals’ health and wellbeing first and our amusement is secondary. And we believe that they have checked that mark here in Orsa.
Our visit to Orsa Rovdjurspark
We spend several hours inside the park searching for the animals. However, since their fences are so big, we end up seeing only a handful of them. And that feels completely fine (even if we really wanted to see the wolves). We love the fact that they have such large areas to move on. This means that you aren’t guaranteed to see all the animals. In fact, we had the same with the wolverines and the Lynx.
In the end, we ended up having a great day at the park. We learned a lot and laughed about our fear of bears while hiking in Dalarna. No, you don’t need to worry about encountering a bear. However, if that would happen – you can learn how to act. We sat down for a long time, waited for the wolves to show up, talking, and having fun! A good way to spend the day if you ask us!
Tips for visiting Orsa Rovdjurspark
Here are some tips to make your visit to Orsa Rovdjurspark a great one!
- When you enter, you’ll get a map of the park. Walk to your left and keep that path. If you start by walking to the right, you will have to climb some really steep hills.
- The best thing is to come to the park when it opens. Then you have the whole day to explore the park.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The whole route around the park is about 3 kilometers in total. If you wear uncomfortable shoes, it might ruin your day.
- Take your time. Don’t run from place to place. Then you risk seeing the animals. This place takes patience and time to explore.
- Check out the webshop. Like most gift shops in Sweden, this is a great shop where you can buy lots of souvenirs. They also have a great collection of books that will learn you more about the animals living here.
If you would encounter a bear in the woods – make your precense known by talking and leaving the area slowly!
Information about Orsa Rovdjurspark
Address: Björnparksvägen 12, Orsa.
Opening hours: Check their website for opening hours.
Entrance fee: About 20 euros per adult.
Website of Orsa Rovdjurspark.
Just outside the park, there is a possibility to rent a bicycle or skies depending on what season you make your visit and not far from that you can visit a Swedish fäbod. Check out this post on biking in Dalarna during summer to read more.
For more places with animals visit Sahlins struts in Borlänge