Nature reserve recruits herd of rare wild horses

Konik Wild Horses
Konik Wild Horses by Gwen Dolen

Stephen Christie, writing for The Press and Journal, reports:

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Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) hopes eight Konik foals will help improve Wetlands

    A north-east nature reserve has recruited a herd of rare horses to help improve its wetland habitats.

    It is hoped the eight konik foals will help the conservation work being done at the RSPB’s Loch of Strathbeg site, near Crimond in Buchan, through their natural grazing.

    Hardier than their domestic cousins, the horses can cope in harsh climates and forage in the wild.

    Experts say their ability to graze on coarser grass, sedges and rushes can also help boost biodiversity.

    Loch of Strathbeg manager Dominic Funnell said:

    “Koniks love eating rank tussocky vegetation and we have lots of it at Strathbeg.

    “Currently we have to artificially strip it away to ensure our wetlands remain in top condition, but now, thanks to the grazing habits of these horses, we can ditch the machines and get back to a natural approach to habitat management.”

    Mr Funnell said the horses’ arrival would also be welcomed by the many species of birds that call the loch home.

    He added:

    “It’s great news for the geese, swans, ducks and wading birds, like lapwings and curlew, which need wetlands to feed and breed, and it means we will have more time to concentrate on other conservation work.

    “These horses will be doing an important job for us, so to make sure they’re not disturbed, they’ll be working on the less public areas of the reserve.

    “Visitors will be able to see them distantly from Tower Pool hide and be able to hear more about their work in the visitor centre and on the reserve website.”

    Before their arrival in the north-east yesterday, the foals were being cared for by the Canterbury-based conservation charity the Wildwood Trust.

    The group has already enlisted koniks as part of another conservation grazing project on nature reserves in Kent.


Related Reading

Horses in History
“Rare horse breed proves crucial to delicate ecosystem”

3 thoughts on “Nature reserve recruits herd of rare wild horses”

  1. This is the kind of press the horses need badly and it is the kind of research that needs to be done before deciding to remove horses from their land. No one has done enough research on the ecology and biological interactions of the wild horses and the range. Sure we are told what the BLM wants us to hear about their destructiveness…but we already know they are wrong about their grazing habits and that cows and sheep do more damage with their ripping of plants vs the horses cutting. So, really, how much is known about possibly vital interactions between what the horses and burros do and the animals and plants that share their homelands…and why are any decisions being made before all the research has been done???


  2. Anybody need any more proof that Wild Mustangs are ecologically essential, these beauties are so important , Please everyone inform all that have no idea !!!!!!!!!


  3. A place that actually WANTS wild horses? Amazing! I remember a very informative back-and-forth about using Mustangs to control Cheatgrass, because they would get to it before it went to seed, and, unlike cattle and domestic horses, range over a wide area. There was anecdotal evidence from a Fire Chief that there were fewer problems with wildfires when Mustangs were in his area. Increased incidence of more destructive fires after they had been removed.


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