The herd of wild horses is complete; a stallion has joined a group of mares

2015 - 04 - 06

After about a four-day long journey, a seven-year-old stallion called Northcroft Firestarter arrived in Central Bohemian Milovice today, half an hour after midday. It joined a group of fourteen mares which has been in this locality since 28th January. The transport with the stallion set out from the north-east of England on Thursday, April 2nd, and they left the port of Dover in the south of England on Saturday, April 4th.

“The stallion was apparently tired after the long journey. The first few minutes in an acclimatization enclosure changed him entirely, however,“ said Dalibor Dostal, the Director of European Wildlife conservation organisation, as he described the first moments of the new inhabitant of Milovic nature reserve.

The stallion was running in the enclosure for many minutes, then he started noticing the mare’s presence in the main pasture. He headed for them after about fifteen minutes. Just after the specialists present verified he had not suffered any injury during the long journey.

The stallion received a very warm welcome in Milovice. “Three mares started showing a lively interest in the stallion from the beginning and they followed him at every step,“ added Miloslav Jirku from the Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. If the mares still keep favour to the stallion, the first wild horse foals born in Central Europe after many centuries are to revive a forty-hectare pasture next spring.
Northcroft Firestarter also started functioning as the herd guard after several minutes. At every attempt of a group of a few mares to separate from the main flow he immediately found the strayed mares and brought them back to the herd.

However, on just the first day the stallion found out it would not be easy for him with the mares. “They let the stallion do mutual sniffing, but when he tried to get behind them, meaning into the position which would enable him to try mating, they strongly indicated by kicking that was too much. In nature such wooing can last even a few days,“ described another development ethologist Martina Komarkova of the Research Institute of Animal Science and Charles University.

The main task of the wild horses in Milovice is to graze on a local steppe and prevent its gradual overgrowing by aggressive grass and self-seeding shrubs. In this way they help to avert the recession of the open landscape which is a good environment for still rarer species of flowers, butterflies and other endangered species. The area is a former training place after the Soviet army. Instead of army tanks it has now been filled with wild horses.

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