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Wolf Attack on Tarpans in the Village of Sbor

In late December 2012,  one of the in Bulgaria new born Tarpan foals died and three adult horses were bitten by wolves as a result of a Wolf attack in the area of the village of Sbor, Krumovgrad Municipality. This is the first attack of wolves since the 12 horses, a rebreed of the European wild horse Tarpan have been brought from the Netherlands to the Eastern Rhodopes in September 2011. The Tarpans adapted very well to the area of Sbor and so far, they have carefully avoided encountering wolves.

When attacked by wolves the strategy of the horses is to run away. Unfortunately, the horse in this case failed to escape and run with the herd to a safer place”, Hristo Hristov, an expert on wilderness and biodiversity in New Thracian Gold (NTG) says. "Radio collars data and our observations show that after the attack the horses avoid thits location and prefer open places where they feel safer. This makes us think that the Tarpans learned how to survive from Wolf," he added.

According to Frank Zanderink, NTG leader what happened with the Tarpans is not unexpected, it is a calculated development.

As Hristo Hristov says, wolf victims are part of the natural processes that become  more and more rare in Europe. „In the Eastern Rhodopes, horses, cattle and other herbivores maintain the pastures and thuscreate and preserve habitats for many other species. As prey of predators they become food for the vultures.That makes the biodiversity of the Eastern Rhodopes so unique”, NTG expert added. The wolf is an important actor for this!

Wolves usually prey on those animals which are most easily captured e.g. young, unexperienced, old and weak game, so animals quick in reaction and with good health are captured less frequently.Through natural selection wolves have a positive effect on prey species and have played an important role in the ecosystems through the ages. Besides their role for the ecosystem wolves are more and more becoming a tourist attraction in Europe.

In the summer of 2012,  Dutch student Tim Asbreuk studied - wwithin the framework of NTG project – the interaction between large herbivores and wolves in the Eastern Rhodopes. The results of his research, which are expected in early 2013, will provide more complete data on the population of Wolf in the Eastern Rhodopes and its food preference.


See here photos of the Tarpans after the Wolf attack

Read here about the Tarpans in the Eastern Rhodopes


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