Ivó Wildlife Park

by admin on 10/06/2015


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We had to wait for a park warden to let us into the Ivó Wildlife Park, opening the gate for us to enter and closing it such that the animals living in the park would stay inside.

The park is located at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains among rolling hills and river valleys. We also passed a lake, coniferous and deciduous forests, a brook and meadows, besides old and abandoned timber houses.

Mr. Albert Andás , the owner and managing director of this park is a hunter, who saw a need for this type of park. He sold a printing business and used the profit from the sale and a grant from the EU to found a company called Honor, which is a wild game and mangalitza  meat processing company, manufacturer and purveyor of premium quality products Next, he bought the land, set up a fence covering an area of about 400 hectares and brought wild animals inside.

Having entered the park, we were met by a deer doe which preferred to follow us on our whole excursion. We first passed an inner fence, inside which about 10 wild boars were living, because male boars can be dangerous to people. As expected, we could easily observe that they had been digging in the ground for acorns, beech nuts, etc. The other wild animals living inside the outer fence include red, fallow  and roe deer  besides mouflon from Corsica

We only saw some roe deer passing on a meadow on the other side of a valley during our visit. However, although the animals live inside a fence, they are still wild and, as visitors, we just have to accept that they want to avoid us. Actually, they are free-range animals, which forage for a varied diet of grasses, leaves, shrubs, berries and other vegetation.

During our walk, we came to a lake where our companion, the deer doe, willingly waded and swam. Our guide told us that deer are good swimmers and that they get relief from bothersome insects when they are swimming.

9 employees work at the Ivó Wildlife Park, like rangers, game wardens, butchers and a veterinarian.. There is also a butcher’s shop nearby where one female employee is selling products made by the butchers.

Occasionally bears can be heard outside the fence, sometimes they break it and it takes a long time to find out where it has been broken. 

About 200 youngsters are born in the park annually, but hunters on seats located some metres above the ground will take out more or less the same number of adults in order to prevent overpopulation.

When we were about to leave, we passed a small shop at the entrance where visitors could buy handmade objects from horn, etc.

Afterwards, we went to the butcher’s shop where the selection of meat products looked overwhelming compared to what we can buy at meat desks even in high-end supermarkets in Norway. Having tasted some of the products, I can also confirm that they are excellent and taste delicious. The selection of the butcher’s shop can be viewed here.

Hunters need to take samples from each animal they have killed and bring them to authorised collection points. All the carcasses have to have a lab certificate before they can be bought by this company and a veterinarian employed by Honor has to inspect it before it can be turned into various meat products. In fact, the only problem with buying from hunters is wild boar meat because of trichinosis. This company buys game like bear, red, fallow and roe deer besides wild boar from hunters, but Mr. Andás told us that the demand is greater than the supply.

We were also allowed to enter the slaughterhouse where some butchers were making sausages. One of them had almost finished filling up a meat grinder with meat and various other ingredients, which are added to sausages, while the other ones were closing bowels, enclosing the contents of the sausages, with pieces of string. Besides, pieces of meat from game were hanging in a cool room in order to improve and concentrate the flavour of the meat.

The meat products are also sold to restaurants in Romania and exported to Italy and Hungary, but only in small quantities.

Those who want to know more about deer hunting, can have a look here.

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