Dorset ‘super reserve’ recreates ancient savannah habitat to boost biodiversity

Devon cattle stand in for extinct aurochs in project aimed at protecting precious species such as sand lizards

The mighty aurochs have gone, as have the tarpan horses and the wild boars, but modern-day substitutes have been drafted in to recreate a large open “savannah” on heathland in Dorset.

Instead of aurochs, considered the wild ancestor of domestic cattle, 200 red Devon cattle are to be found roaming the Purbeck Heaths, while Exmoor ponies are stand-ins for the tarpan horses and curly coated Mangalitsa pigs are doing the sort of rooting around that boars used to excel at here.

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