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Wild Horses from Britain to save Czech Bio-Diversity!

Wild Horses from Britain to save Czech Bio-Diversity!

Wild horses vanished from Czech soil thousands of years ago but are now making a comeback thanks to an imported herd that conservationists hope will rescue a unique ecosystem.

Czech scientists have created a wild horses sanctuary in an area that was a Russian military base twenty five years ago hoping to save its biodiversity among local plants and save endangered species.

The plan is to stop the spread of aggressive and evasive grasses including bush grass that are delicacies for the wild horses. The invasive plants began to grow after Soviet troops withdrew in 1991, threatening the area's original plants and animals.

It s the first time the Czech Republic will use ponies to save an ecosystem a steppe in this case, says Dalibor Dostal from the non-profit organization Ceska krajina (Czech countryside).

A herd of 14 wild mares from Britain's Exmoor National Park were moved in January to the former Milovice military base, 22 miles northeast of Prague, the Czech capital. Right after an acclimatization period at a modest enclosure, the horses had been released Saturday to a 40-hectare (99-acre) location. A stallion will join the mares in April.

The stocky animals with black-and-tan noses, that stand four feet (1.25 meters) tall, are one of just a handful of wild horse herds living in Central and Eastern Europe.

Archaeological research shows that groups of wild horses galloped across this part of the continent as far back as 4,700-3,700 BC before being domesticated.

Dalibor Dostal said scientists decided that using big-hoofed animals such wild horses, which maintained the steppe character of nature across Europe for thousands of years, could solve the invasive plant problem in the most effective way. That should also help some 30 threatened species in the area, including the Mountain Alcon Blue butterfly and the Star Gentian flowering plant.

Alternatives to wild animals are very expensive and their impact on the environment is not very good, Dostal said.

Domestic animals such as sheep were ruled out because they would feed on the endangered plants, and mechanical cutting would be very costly.

Environmentalists are already preparing to expand the territory and use other massive-hoofed animals such as European bison.

Wild Horses from Britain to save Czech Bio-Diversity!

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