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Horsing around!

Last modified: 16 August 2012

Koniks and Loch of Strathbeg Site Manager Richard Humpidge

An Aberdeenshire nature reserve is ramping up its au naturel approach to boosting biodiversity by expanding its workforce.

A further 4 wild horses, including a stallion, have joined an existing resident herd of konik horses at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg.

The horses, which can cope with harsh climate and forage in the wild, have been helping to improve the wetland habitat through natural grazing.

Staff have been so impressed by their ability to munch through courser grass, sedges and rushes that they have decided to increase the herd.

Richard Humpidge, Site Manager at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg, said: “The koniks are a very popular and important conservation tool, they love to eat the tough vegetation that we used to have to spend a lot of time and money stripping away with machines. As they are so effective we’ve decided to increase the herd slowly and naturally through a breeding programme, that way we can monitor their progress and ensure we reach a grazing level that will is beneficial for the thousands of geese, ducks and wading birds that need the wetlands to feed and breed.”

To ensure the koniks can work undisturbed they will once again be kept on the less public areas of the reserve.  However, visitors will be able to see them distantly from the hides and follow their progress on the website.

Konik horses graze intensively in small areas so their effects are long lasting and resounding. Although they are wild, they will be confined to certain areas of the reserve that require more concentrated habitat management approach.

For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/lochofstrathbeg  

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