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Round Table on Tarpan reintroduction (Wild Horses)

On 28 November representatives of several local stakeholders - authorities, local farmers, businessmen, B&B entrepreneurs, NGO sector, etc – participated in the round table on the newly reintroduced tarpans (wild horses). The introduced  tarpan group  arrived from the Netherlands early September 2011 and was released near the abandoned village of Sbor, Krumovgrad area.  This reintroduction plan is an element of the project for sustainable development of the Eastern Rhodopes “New Thracian Gold  (NTG).

     At the opening the Deputy Mayor of Krumovgrad Maria Hristozova expressed the local authorities’ consent with the decision of the NTG team to reintroduce the tarpans in the area of Krumovgrad Municipality. According to her the tarpans can contribute to local tourism growth. The importance of the tarpans with respect to the improvement of biodiversity and tourism was highlighted by the Deputy governor of Kardzhali, Assen Tyurdiev. He emphasized the importance of projects like New Thracian Gold for the region’s future. .

     Frank Zanderink, the team leader of the NTG project, presented an overview of the Tarpan reintroduction projects in the Netherlands and Latvia. He showed  many  positive  results for biodiversity and tourism.  Areas with  wild horses enjoy much media attention and attract more tourists.

     Hristo Hristov, biodiversity coordinator in the NTG project and Anka Mladenova,  supervisorof the Sbor-tarpans presented information about the horses’  first months in Bulgaria and about the animal’s  adaptation to the Eastern Rhodopes’ conditions.

     Mihaela Kircheva, ecotourism coordinator in NTG presented the tourism potential of the region of Krumovgrad to which the tarpans are going to  contribute.

    The Round table participants were very interested and expressed their commitment while asking many questions about this unique  pilot project.

    The tarpans live in the area of the abandoned village of Sbor. In the first year of the Bulgarian experiment wildlife experts will keep the Tarpans fenced for appropriate habituation to the Rhodopian wilderness. When the horses are accustomed to Bulgarian nature, they shall be released to the wild. Their role in Eastern Rhodopi nature will be the same as in ancient times: to graze the wild vegetation, to mold the wilderness and to support a natural ecosystem. Wild tarpans have a reputation of being tough and easily adapted to the harsh conditions of semi-open wilderness landscapes. Over the last years, tarpans have been reintroduced in England, France, Belgium, Germany, Latvia.

    Before implementing the reintrodution of the Tarpans the NTG team has of course done preliminary inquiries about suitable areas in the Eastern Rhodopes, about the Bulgarian legislation and official requirements. The team organised meetings with local authorities and local people, because local cooperation is necessary in such unique experiment. The round table on 28 November was a follow-up of these meetings.

    Bringing Tarpans to the Eastern Rhodopes is part of the wilderness restoration plans of the NTG project. Last year, semi-wild Karakachan horses have been reintroduced in the area of Chernichino. Red deer reintroduction is also in the forthcomming plans. The NTG team is working on the European bison introduction. It is the ecologist’s opinion that the reintroduction of ancient herbivores in the wild improves the biodiversity and makes the ecosystems more complete. The nature component of the NTG project goes hand in hand with the ecotourism activities.

    As a positive spin-off during the Round Table meeting it was decided to establish a  Tarpan working group,  which will be informed about the tarpans on a regularly basis. The NTG team plans to organize an Open Day in spring 2012 in the tarpan area of Sbor. Also a brochure on the tarpans and the Sbor pilot will be prepared.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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