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Wildpark Feldkirch Sautränke © Agnes Ammann / Vorarlberg Tourismus

60 years of Wildpark Feldkirch

Vorarlberg Magazine
Wildpark Feldkirch wildlife park - The Ardetzenberg mountain is always worth visiting!

Lake Constance Vorarlberg

Wildpark Feldkirch wildlife park - The Ardetzenberg mountain is always worth visiting!

The Wildpark Feldkirch has remained one of the most popular family excursion destinations in Vorarlberg since 1963. Let’s look back on the wildlife park’s history.


We live in a time in which progress is increasingly encroaching on natural habitats and in which many children only know wild native animals from books. Karl Lampert, a Feldkirch businessman and former district master hunter, recognised this back in 1963 already. His goal was to change this dynamic by creating a place where people, especially children and young people, could experience these animals up close – at any time and free of charge for everyone. Thus, the idea for a wildlife park on Feldkirch’s Ardetzenberg mountain was born. What began in a small gathering at a regulars’ table was formalised on 4 September 1963 with the first general meeting of the Wildpark Association. The speedy realisation of the idea was, however, only partly due to Karl Lampert’s ambition, which has been passed down through the generations. A decisive role was also played by a certain “Felix”.

Felix (c) Wildpark Feldkirch
Wildpark Feldkirch © Archiv Feldkirch Tourismus / Archiv Feldkirch Tourismus

60 years ago: Felix, the most stubborn of founding members

Felix, the stubborn founding member
Felix the ibex, who still graces the wildlife park logo today, came from a Swiss zoo. Initially, the animal was purchased along with a second male in order to breathe fresh air into a small wild ibex colony in Gargellen. While the first animal accepted the offer, Felix apparently had other plans. Rather than joining his peers in the high mountains, the animal wandered all through the countryside as a loner. Time and again, he was seen close to settlements. So the decision was made to capture the stray ibex.

However, catching Felix was not as easy as they had imagined. Martin Duelli, former secretary of the Wildpark Feldkirch Association, recalls a conversation with engineer Rudolf Scherrer, one of the co-founders of the wildlife park, concerning the first attempts to capture Felix: One day, Felix was seen on the Stadtschrofen rock face near Feldkirch. Mr Scherrer had enquired about the best way to catch the stray. The advice that he received was to use pear slices. Equipped with two helpers, a rope and the aforementioned pear slices, Scherrer set off to catch Felix. But his attempts were in vain. “It was not until months later that they managed to capture the ibex at a feeding station in Dornbirn and bring it to Feldkirch,” explains Martin Duelli. A fence was then hastily erected to give Felix a new home on the Ardetzenberg mountain.


Wildpark Feldkirch © Agnes Ammann / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Wildpark Feldkirch Sautränke (c) Agnes Ammann / Vorarlberg Tourismus

Great support and keen interest
With the support of the City of Feldkirch, landowners from the local area and numerous volunteers, new enclosures were built that same year and more animals were purchased. Four fallow deer and three red deer also found a new home on the Ardetzenberg mountain. Felix also had some company: a doe with her fawn turned the bachelor into a family man overnight. Now there was nothing standing in the way of the official opening. In spite of the poor weather, numerous guests, the press and even radio broadcasters made their way to the Ardetzenberg mountain on 16 November 1963.

Wildpark Feldkirch © Agnes Ammann / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Wildpark Feldkirch © Agnes Ammann / Vorarlberg Tourismus

The wildlife park expands
The following year, a rock enclosure with a climbing island made of 250 tonnes of quarry rock was erected in place of the temporary fence in order to create an environment as close to nature as possible for the ibex family. A year later, another animal family consisting of five marmots moved to the Ardetzenberg mountain. From then on, things continued on much the same. The number of animals and animal families increased steadily over the next few years – and the wildlife park itself continued to grow. New enclosures were built, a service building was erected, footpaths were laid out and benches, rubbish bins and a fountain were installed. To this day, the infrastructure is constantly being expanded. The Wildpark wildlife park now boasts a kiosk run by Lebenshilfe Vorarlberg with parlour and hot food, a large playground and a freely accessible barbecue area.

Around 140 animals and countless helpers
Wild boar, marmots, donkeys, western capercaillie, lynx, wolves and more: The Wildpark Feldkirch is currently home to around 140 animals of different species. In the early years, one volunteer game keeper was enough to look after the animals, but today a manager, an additional trained animal keeper, a forester, an apprentice and an assistant are employed full-time to look after and care for the animals. Furthermore, numerous helpers and the entire board of the organisation put in countless hours of voluntary work. All costs are largely financed by sponsorship and donations. After all, in keeping with the founding idea, experiencing the local wildlife in Wildpark Feldkirch should remain free of charge for everyone (just as it was envisaged 60 years ago). Nonetheless, visitors who would like to make a donation supporting the preservation and expansion of the wildlife park have the opportunity to do so at every entrance or online.

Wildpark Feldkirch © Agnes Ammann / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Hirsche beobachten - Wildpark Feldkirch (c); Wildpark Feldkirch

Discover and experience Wildpark Feldkirch wildlife park
Come rain, shine or snow: Wildpark Feldkirch is a worthwhile destination for a half-day outing with the entire family, no matter the weather. Dogs are also welcome to visit the wildlife park, provided they are kept on a lead. Most of the animals can be observed in their outdoor enclosures on a long or short walk (3 or 2 km) along the pram-friendly hiking trails. In addition, the fox and bee houses offer interactive insights into the unseen worlds of these animal species. Feeding the animals is prohibited. The sole exception is of course the feeding house at the wild boar enclosure, where species-appropriate food for designated animal species is available for a small fee. Tip: In addition to watching the wild boar eat, you can also listen to them smack their lips with delight through a special feeding tube.

Worth knowing: Due to an extensive construction project to protect the Kapfschlucht gorge from flooding, access by car to the Wildpark Feldkirch wildlife park is expected to be restricted until 2025. Starting in March 2023, a Wildpark shuttle will run from Feldkirch train station on weekends and public holidays from 10 am to 4 pm. Those who prefer to combine their visit with a short hike can reach the Wildpark on foot in around 30 minutes on eight different hiking trails from starting points around the Ardetzenberg mountain.

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The region


The lively small cities of Bregenz, Dornbirn, Hohenems and Feldkirch boast a vibrant atmosphere. Festivals such as the Bregenz Festival attract international attention, there’s amazing modern architecture and museums open up new perspectives. The natural spectacle of the mountains is reflected in the waters of Lake Constance and can be enjoyed from on high.

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