Bring in the Hoofs!
Posted: November 1, 2020
Something has changed in in Milovice, Czech Republic. Flowers pop up. Invading grasses disappear. Who do Czechs have to thank? Some monstrously heavy animals . . . and the people who put them to work.
Tall, dense, invasive grasses took over an old military base in Milovice years ago. Many, many years before that, wild horses, bison, and other big-hoofed animals roamed freely all over Europe. Now they are transforming the overgrown base.
God designed human bodies to heal. He designed land to heal too. Animals can help land powerfully come back to life. They can return balance after damage is done.
“It’s a miraculous change,” says Dalibor Dostal, the director of the organization European Wildlife. He says nobody expected the land to transform so much so fast.
Conservationists thought carefully before choosing big, hoofed animals to clear out grasses. Couldn’t people just cut the grass using machines? Nope. That would cost too much. What about ordinary domestic animals such as sheep? Those were out too. They feed on endangered plants as well as on the baddies.
BUT—invasive grasses are a delicacy for wild horses. European bison and cattle called tauros love to chow down on bushes. Eureka! Scientists had discovered the perfect heavy-hoofed team. And the animals don’t mind a bit. They’re just doing what they’re made to do—walking around and eating.
The tauros were brought in from the Netherlands. Wild horses were transported from Britain. European bison came from Poland. The project now has herds of 27 European bison, 25 tauros, and some 70 wild horses. The animals move freely on the pastures year-round.
Within two years of grazing, flowers sprouted. Today, seasonal flowers change the color of the whole area over the course of the year. Precious blue life reappears. The rare blue star gentian flower flourishes. The Adonis blue, a butterfly, comes back too. People have spotted it for the first time since 1967.
And the good will spread. This year, conservationists hope to make the sanctuary bigger. Eventually, it should span 890 acres.