The Loch of Strathbeg reserve in Aberdeenshire Scotland has begun to use eight rare ‘Konick’ horses to manage and improve it’s wetland habitats for birds.
The breed is a direct descendent of the Tarpan, a wild forest horse driven to extinction in central Europe in the late 19th century. Hardier than their domestic cousins, konik horses can cope with harsh climates an forage in the wild.Their ability to graze on courser grass, sedges and rushes can also help boost biodiversity.
Previously the rank tussocky vegetation had to be artificially stripped away to ensure the wetlands remained in top condition. Now, thanks to the grazing habits of these horses, the machines can be ditched and an au naturel approach to habitat management adopted.
As a natural resource, the Konik horse offers conservationists a way of saving more wildlife for less money, saving charitable organisations and the tax payer alike thousands of pounds.
Wild Horses benefit as well as the birds!!
@Gareth: So far as I understand it, these are descendants of wild horses but not actual wild horses. I believe that they are treated essentially as livestock (but Alan should feel free to correct me if I am wrong).
In the United States the “wild” horses out west are destroying the ecology of some very sensitive lands so it is very nice to see horses used towards a positive conservation end.