June 10, 2016

Highland cattle in Kraansvlak

In June, a small family group of Highland cattle (cow, calf, bull) has been released into the dune area Kraansvlak. Also in other areas within Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, of which Kraansvlak is part of, Highland cattle are being used for natural grazing purposes. Since 2007, a group of European bison is present in Kraansvlak, an area managed by PWN. In 2009, a small herd of Konik (breed of horses) followed. Now, also cattle has been added to the area. 

Since the start of the bison project in 2007, research has been carried out to learn more about the grazing behaviour and terrain use of these three large grazing species. Also from these results it is shown that cattle, in this case this Scottish cattle breed, and bison differ in the way they complete their diet. We see that bison debark trees, while cattle brake off twigs. With their specific foraging behaviour, the two animal species create a different local effect on their environment. It also strengthens the presumption that both ruminants can live together in this same area, as they show differences troughout the seasons in which part of plants they eat and when they eat from a certain plant. 

With their presence, the Highland cattle supplement the assemblage of current herbivores in Kraansvlak. Here, besides European bison and Konik, also fallow deer, roe deer and rabbits are roaming around. Here you can find a clear overview of differences between bison and cattle.