Two groups of back-bred aurochs from the Netherlands arrived at the large herbivore reserve today

2022 - 05 - 26

Two groups of back-bred aurochs arrived this morning from the Netherlands at the European Serengeti large herbivore nature reserve, which is located in the former Milovice military training area near Prague. The Dutch Taurus Foundation has selected two young bulls and four young cows to increase the genetic variability of the two herds already living in the nature reserve.

European Wildlife, the conservation organisation behind the large herbivore reserve, has been working with the Taurus Foundation for a long time. The Dutch foundation has been breeding back aurochs since 2008, and sent the first animals to the European Serengeti reserve in 2015, when the reserve, which focuses on key European ungulate species and increasing the biodiversity of the landscape through large herbivores, was established.

Since that time, the Dutch foundation has successfully reared many more bred-back aurochs for several European locations. „Taurus Foundation currently has around 700 hundred animals being part of the Tauros Programme, in the Netherlands – the home base of Taurus Foundation – and six other European countries. The biggest herd roams around in Croatia on the Lika Plains, as part of the Rewilding Europe area Velebit,“ Ronald Goderie, Director of the Taurus Foundation, said.

Bred-back aurochs complement herds of wild horses and bison in the reserve for large ungulates, European Serengeti. “Large ungulates are an ideal instrument for restoring flowering meadows. It is the combination of wild horses and wild bovines, be it bison or aurochs, in particular that creates biologically a very varied countryside,” said Dalibor Dostal, Director of the European Wildlife conservation organisation.

For thousands of years, aurochs were one of the most widespread large animal species in Europe. Their bones accounted for the most frequent finds near settlements of prehistoric hunters. After the emergence of agriculture, humans first pushed aurochs out of areas around big rivers and then continued to hunt them excessively for centuries. In 1627, the last animal from the herd that a Polish ruler tried to save by breeding it in captivity in the Jaktorów Forest died.

As the domestication of the aurochs resulted in the development of cattle, many genes of the extinct species have been preserved in primitive cattle breeds. The year 2008 saw the creation of an aurochs back-breeding programme in the Netherlands, which, through a suitable combination of primitive cattle breeds, should re-create an animal within five decades that will correspond to the original aurochs with its appearance and colour and, at the same time, will be capable of surviving in the wild without human care.

European Wildlife

„Only one per cent of European Wilderness remains. Help us protect it!“

Do you have a question? Write to us info@eurowildlife.org

Sign up for our newsletter

The registration is free and may be cancelled anytime. We will send news and updates of our web sites. To cancel your subscription enter your already registered e-mail address.
© Copyright 2008 - 2022 European Wildlife • All rights reserved.