Industry and Nature in Harmony

Koniks – the wild heart of the Humber

Koniks – the wild heart of the Humber

Koniks – the wild heart of the Humber

Its just over three years now since the four Konik ponies arrived at RSPB Blacktoft Sands in an experiment to see just how large herbivores living in a semi natural state would deliver habitat condition for the Upper Humber’s SSSI reedfen and grazing marsh and its associated wildlife.

But as I’ve discovered this innovative approach to nature conservation has also really pushed my boundaries of  knowledge and understanding of just how natural grazing animals in nature can deliver the ecological intricacies that ‘us’ humans beings cannot fully begin to comprehend.

Oh I must admit that in the beginning I was really sceptical about just how four little horses (Konik means little horse in polish) could really deliver any tangible habitat management over such a large area of land?

Of course now I know better! The ‘boys’ (as they are now affectionately known) have munched their way through a large area of fen and marsh creating a carefully crafted mosaic of habitat that is now supporting so much more than it used to.

Somehow grazing with domestic farm stock just does not seem to do the same, it’s difficult to put your finger on but somehow these close relatives to the extinct Tarpan horses seem to do everything that is right for nature.  

It’s been almost evangelical for me to see the increased use of the area they graze by an eclectic range of birds including curlew, wigeon, snipe, bearded tit, bittern and avocet but also a whole range of other biodiversity.

And we’ve managed to reduce our use of machinery and replace it with something that not only looks beautiful and so natural out on the marsh but has also re-wilded the hearts of so many of  our visitors.

There’s no doubt for me – the Koniks are here to stay!

Pete Short, RSPB Blacktofts Sands

(If you want to know some more about the concept of re-wilding then why not visit Re-Wilding Europe’s web site)



02 February 2015 by Gordon Kell

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