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Visit to the Sanctuary of Wolves in Mafra

We dedicate the first article of our blog to a visit we made as a family, in June 2020, to the Sanctuary dof Wolves in Mafra. This blog will be published monthly and in it, you will be able to find several suggestions about tours, visits and trips, our discoveries, ecological lifestyle, as well as environmental education topics. We hope it inspires you!

In 2019, at Christmas, we offered our daughter,as a gift, the sponsorship of a wolf from the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center. The Sanctuary is located in the parish of Gradil, in the municipality of Mafra, 30 km north of Lisbon. In addition to contributing to this conservation project, it was an excellent opportunity to provide our daughter with an enriching experience of environmental awareness and education.

The wolf she chose to sponsor was a femal wolf named Faia, who, in addition to being one of the most beautiful wolves in the center, is quite curious and is easily observed.

Faia among the vegetation

The Iberian Wolf Recovery Center (CRLI)

The CRLI was created by Grupo Lobo (Wolf Group) in 1987, with the aim of providing an adequate space to house wolves that cannot live in freedom, coming from zoos, illegal captivity or victims of traps.

The land has 18 hectares and is wooded, in order to recreate the natural habitat of the wolves. The eucalyptus trees that existed on the land have been replaced by oaks, cork oaks and other native trees, in an excellent job of regenerating the habitat.

How to help

There are several ways to support Grupo Lobo's work:

  • Sponsorship of resident wolves at CRLI

  • Visiting CRLI and participate in the activities

  • Through donations

  • Becoming a member

  • Volunteer Program

Find out more information at

Bolota, Faia's partner

Visiting CRLI

Since the CRLI is not a Zoo, but a Sanctuary, there is no guarantee that you will be able to observe wolves during your visit. On our visit we were lucky and managed to observe two wolves, Faia and Bolota, his companion. The first time, we were able to observe them from afar, but, after advancing a little along the route, we were able to see them much closer to the pens, with their summer fur blending in with the vegetation.

The visit is guided by a biologist, who explains the history and objectives of the centre, exposing various aspects related to the habits of the wolf, its feeding, reproduction and, of course, the theme of conservation. There is a lot of work to be done, to raise awareness to the importance of this great predator for the balance of the ecosystem, and to deconstruct the various myths associated with the wolf.

This is the work that Grupo Lobo has been developing with the populations, in parallel with the Cão de Gado project, which plays a crucial role in protecting herds from wolves. There are some wolf packs that live in the north of Portugal, and these have been closely monitored and studied in order to guarantee their conservation.

If you want to know more, visit the Center. Go prepared to take a short walk and learn a lot! At the current moment of a pandemic, there are some rules that have to be followed, such as the use of a mask, but all the information is available on the website

What to visit in Mafra

If you go to Mafra, take the opportunity to visit:

  • The National Palace and Convent of Mafra, with its fascinating library;

  • The Jardim do Cerco (Garden of the Cerco) located next to the Palace and built in the Versailles style;

  • The Tapada Nacional de Mafra, located next to the CRLI, a great place for strolling and housing a wide variety of flora, as well as many animals in the wild, such as deer, wild boar, fallow deer, reptiles and birds;

  • The typical villages "saloias", which will be for a next visit, and, perhaps, for another article for this blog.

See you soon!

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