Today’s Solutions: April 14, 2024

The Iberian Peninsula experienced a tremendous collaboration of old breeds, the Garrano horse and the European bison, working together to combat the risk of wildfires that threaten the region in a revolutionary experiment. By clearing scrubland and vegetation that serves as fuel for wildfires, these endangered animals are proving to be valuable friends in the fight against destructive blazes.

Garrano horses’ fire-prevention power

Garrano horses, which have prehistoric origins, once suffered a major loss in numbers, with only about 350 mares remaining from an estimated 70,000 population in the 1990s. Their numbers have now climbed to over 1,500 as a result of diligent conservation initiatives. These semi-wild horses roaming the Serra da Cabreira mountain range in Portugal are now affectionately known as “sapper horses” by Mayor Antonio Cardoso of Vieira do Minho, recognizing their crucial role in cleaning the grounds.

Using their natural grazing behavior, the horses devour about 30 kg of grass every day, focusing on regions beneath telegraph poles to construct firebreaks. This novel technique attempts to prevent wildfires while also safeguarding communities and conserving the Iberian Peninsula’s natural beauty.

The European bison: Natural forest firefighters

In Spain, humans and European bison are working together to keep forests healthy and avoid wildfires. The head of the European Bison Reserve, Jesús González Ruiz, emphasizes the importance of these gorgeous creatures in the process. European bison, known for their indiscriminate eating habits, consume around 130 different plant types, cleaning and regenerating the terrain. They act as natural firemen by keeping the undergrowth from becoming a potential fire hazard.

This collaboration between humans and European bison represents a significant change in long-term fire prevention techniques. Communities in Spain are working to maintain their unique natural history while protecting against the disastrous effects of wildfires by leveraging the innate tendencies and talents of these endangered breeds.

Towards an eco-grazing movement

The success of the eco-grazing initiative in Spain and Portugal using Garrano horses and European bison inspires hope for further adoption in other wildfire-prone areas. This collaborative method of wildfire prevention, which employs endangered animals to organically clean and maintain vegetation, demonstrates the possibility of peaceful living with nature.

This solutions-oriented approach in the Iberian Peninsula, driven by old breeds such as Garrano horses and European bison, is a wonderful and inventive effort to prevent wildfires. Communities are developing a harmonious relationship with nature while protecting their properties from disastrous wildfires by utilizing the natural characteristics of these endangered animals. The success of these programs demonstrates the possibility for collaborative and long-term plans to conserve our environment for future generations.

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