Wild horses will help protect nature in Podyji National Park of – they are coming from England in spring

2017 - 01 - 16

Wild horses coming from Exmoor in England will help preserve two unique localities in Podyji National Park, on the border between the Czech Republic and Austria. Eleven animals brought from England should settle in the National Park this year. The preparations for their arrival started last year in September.

In Podyji the animals will maintain a total area of nearly 70 ha. ‘‘In contrast to domestic animals, they are not choosy and they graze even the worst cover, including aggressive kinds of grass or self-seeding woody plants. Thus they make space for valuable species of flowers and a number of butterfly species which are dependent on them,’’ was how the pasture contribution was described by Dalibor Dostal, the Director of European Wildlife conservation organisation, the experts who cooperate on the project with a local company Czech landscape which is the project official partner.

‘‘Both localities are treasuries of rare plants and animals, such as pasqueflowers, junipers, orchids, dozens of butterfly species, European green lizards, Aesculapian snakes and many others. All of these cannot do without long-term care of their stands and it is just a natural pasture which is the closest to the nature with its care. There are really valuable localities and the preservation of their natural values for future generations is a big commitment,’’ added Miloslav Jirku of the Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences.

‘‘At present we are harmonizing the area and the exact enclosures placement. At the same time we are discussing the whole intention with local villages and other subjects,’’ noted Lenka Reiterova, a botanist from Podyji National Park Administration.

In 2015 European Wildlife organisation founded a nature reserve for large herbivores in the former military area of Milovice, about 30 kilometres from the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. The reserve has become the first nature reserve in the world with all three crucial species of original European large herbivores. This means wisents, wild horses and backbred aurochs. In 2016 the reserve became the first one in the world where all three species succeeded in reproducing in one place.

Within the Czech Republic, Podyji National Park will be the first national park ever where big hoofed animals will be used to care for the countryside. In a lot of European countries, such as the Netherlands or Great Britain, large herbivores have been already used for this purpose for a few decades.

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