Three young female aurochs were added to the wild horses in the wetland reserve today

2022 - 02 - 21

As of today, three young females of the bred-back aurochs graze in the wetland reserve on the banks of the River Luznice, southern Bohemia. Conservationists transferred them there from the former Milovice military area, near Prague, where herds of large ungulates have been helping save endangered flower and butterfly species since 2015.

The female aurochs complemented the herd of wild horses which has been occupying the wetland reserve on the banks of the River Luznice since 2020. “It is always a combination of various large ungulate species that achieves the best results. Each of them focuses on different types of vegetation, and the grazing of large ungulates then results in a rich and varied landscape. Whereas wild horses feed more on aggressive grass species, aurochs graze, to a fairly large extent, on some species of weeds or self-seeded bushes,” explained Dalibor Dostal of the European Wildlife conservation organisation, which has provided both the wild horses and aurochs for the wetland reserve on the Luznice banks.

Large herbivores will help with taking care of the landscape in these places. “Nowadays, when hard manual labour and the presence of people in the landscape are rapidly disappearing, the animals adapted to grazing in wet conditions can successfully replace the subsidised and expensive conservation management in the protected areas and prevent these valuable wetland sites from becoming overgrown with shrubs and monotonous vegetation,” explained Ladislav Rektoris, botanist and deputy director of the local Protected Landscape Area.

The wild horses that were provided by the European Wildlife conservation organisation are currently in ten reserves in Central Europe. In addition to conservation organisations, it is also private landowners, towns/cities and regions that establish them.
The reserve on the Luznice banks has got one primacy among them. “It is the first time that the wild core of the flood zone of a fairly large unregulated water course is grazed,” emphasised Miloslav Jirku of the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

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