A life serving animals

Horst Niesters has passed

Horst Niesters

Our founder, co-owner, master falconer, wildlife photographer and longstanding friend, Horst Niesters passed on October 16, 2009 at the age of 72. He failed to recuperate from heart surgery which had been performed a few months prior.

He is survived by his wife, Ute, and his two children Petra and Jörg.

We have lost a huge supporter, dedicated to maintaining the wildlife park and the Raptor Center.

Born in Cologne on April 21, 1937, an expert in the field of raptors and falconry, Horst Niesters was highly respected around the world. He achieved worldwide fame as a nature and wildlife photographer, has visited nearly all continents and has made some half a million photos. He published his first animal photos in 1956. His photos have been published in more than 50 books, 40 huntings and wildlife calenders and countless magazines.


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The history of the wildlife park and the Raptor Center

"In a nutshell"

  • 1967 The Wildlife Park Hellenthal and its Raptor Center was founded by the German-Argentinian Guillermo Staudt
  • 1976 Take-over by the Arabian businessman Salem Ebrahim Al-Saman 
  • 1980 First offspring of the Americal bald eagle bred by Horst Niesters
  • 1982 Hand-over of two bald eagles to US President Ronald Reagan
  • 1996 Leasehold by Manfred Kreer, Horst Niesters and Karl Fischer
  • 1999 Purchase of the wildlife park by Manfred Kreer, Karl Fischer and Horst Niesters
  • ·2002 Take-over of the company share of Manfred Kreer by Wolfgang Fischer, Horst  Niesters and Karl Fischer
  • 2009 Death of longstanding managing director and co-owner of the wildlife park, Horst Niesters. His shares were taken over by his wife, Ute Niesters
  • 2012 Withdrawal of Wolfgang Fischer. Wolfgang Fischer's share were taken ober by Ute Niesters an Karl Fischer

The history of the Wildlife Park Hellenthal and its Raptor Center dates back to 1967. Under the management of the Argentinian, Arabian and German owners, the profile of the constantly growing wildlife park began to change, which was also reflected in the species of animals kept at the park. By and by, facilities were created to house and breed rare and endangered species, which also frequently proved to generate successful breeding results. The breeding program of the American bald eagle achieved international fame, which was also in part due to the two young eagles given to the former US President Ronald Reagan.

In the mid-1990s, the wildlife park's longstanding director, Horst Niesters, and his experienced park manager Karl Fischer, followed their passion and leased, and later purchased, the Raptor Center in order to have a more active influence in the ongoings there. Under their management, breeding, preservation and husbandry activities were further expanded and public relations work for the falconry and the raptors was taken to an international level, which also increased the popularity of the Wildlife Park and Raptor Center Hellenthal as a result.


Read more: Geschichte
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