Over the past 50 years, the number bestas decreased in the Spanish region. In the 1970s, the population was 24,000, according to a study by the University of Coruña, and today it has dwindled to 10,000 wild horses. A decline that affects the ecological benefits of horse grazing in the hills of northwest Spain.
” If something is not done soon, the wild horses of Galicia will eventually disappear altogether. worries Jaime Fagundes, head of the study on the environmental benefits of horses.
According to the study, the reasons for this population decline can be explained in several ways. “One side, the landowners have left the rural environment, leaving only the elderly who cannot take care of them. On the other hand, the situation is influenced by negative factors, such as the fall in the market price of horsemeat and other issues related to the financing of the common agricultural policy. “.
Importance of horses in Galicia
Spanish wild horses represent the largest herd in Europe. They are very important to the culture and environment of the region. According to the researchers, bestas can help solve problems related to climate crisisleading to rural depopulation and a lack of biodiversity. ” Wild horse ecosystem in Galicia benefits compared to alternatives such as reforestation, ranching on tame pastures or abandoned land says a study on the environmental benefits of horses.
Grazing horses of various types of heather provides high biodiversity, greater carbon storage and reduced fire risk in the hills of northwestern Spain. By eating bushes such as reeds, wild horses reduce the cost of machine cuts that can lead to fires.
Measures to stop their disappearance
The research is focused on two geographical areas, each of which is distinguished by its environment and the connection between wild horses and people. First, on Serrada Coffinin the province of Pontevedra, is warmer and drier climatea frequent reforestation of rural space and numerous fires. In addition, the animals are owned by non-professionals and horses are mane-trimmed and foals are marked before being released into the wild. Second geographical area: Serra do Xistral, north of the province of Lugo. This environment is part a network of protected areas in the European Union, consists of wet moor and peat bogs, where horses are owned by professional breeders..
Important for researchers reduce the administrative part for owners of wild horses and to enable bestas to be capable of work for free without the need for microchip implantation. This is also requested improve road signs to alert drivers to the presence of wild horses nearby. Researchers also callavoid turning heather-covered countryside into an area of lesser ecological value for example, when planting tame pastures. Researchers urge authorities to commit themselves to implementing policies and regulations to protect bestas. A study on the environmental benefits of equines has been presented to the European Commission.