The fifteenth large ungulate reserve has been established on the border of the Czech Republic with Austria

2024 - 01 - 30

In January, the fifteenth reserve for large ungulates, created in part thanks to the conservation organisation European Wildlife, was established in the mountains on the border of the Czech Republic and Austria. Conservationists transported a second bull of back-bred aurochs there from “European Serengeti” reserve near Prague. The first grown-up bull was transported there already in late 2023, but capturing the second animal came off only with a delay.

“No capture of an animal for any reserve has been so complicated so far. The first attempt at capture took place in late September, but it was not successful. Then in December, only one animal was successfully anaesthetised and transported. We must thank the founders of the new reserve for their patience and for the fact that they did not get discouraged by these complications,” said Dalibor Dostal, director of the conservation organisation European Wildlife.

The new reserve starts with an area of ten hectares, and it should gradually expand to approximately 50 hectares. Wild horses will join the aurochs in the months to come.

In the new site, the reserve for large ungulates will replace the original pastures for farm animals. In fact, taking care of farm animals in the harsh climatic conditions of mountains is very challenging and costly, while wild ungulates will manage to maintain the local pastures at significantly lower cost. In addition, wolves are found in the region, and large ungulates can defend themselves against them better than domestic animals that depend on humans. It is for regions where wolves are found in particular that large ungulates are an optimum solution to tending of the landscape. The reserve was set up on private plots of land, and the animals were provided free of charge by the conservation organisation European Wildlife.

The reserve was established in a location that bears the Czech name Novohradske Mountains, and this area is traditionally referred to as Gratzener Bergland or Freiwald in German.

Photo: Michal Köpping

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