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General Information on the semi-reserves

On the 5th International Symposium on the Preservation of the Przewalski horses at Leipzig (1990). Inge and Jan Bouman, board members of the Foundation gave a report on the semi-reserves project IUCN/WWF No. 3077, which started in 1980.

This section is based on an article published by the Zoologischer Garten Leipzig ( Germany ) in the proceedings of the symposium. It gives information on the aims of the semi-reserve, the different nature reserves in the Netherlands and Germany and the behaviour of the Przewalski horses in semi-wild living conditions.

The reintroduction programme for the Przewalski horses had a systematic approach and was executed step by step. The first phase of the programme started in the semi-reserves.

Short description of the different semi - reserves

In 1990, when the article was published, the Foundation had 56 Przewalski horses in five semi-reserves and another 8 foals were soon to be born.

Nature Park LelystadThe first semi-reserve was established at Nature Park Lelystad owned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. It comprises at present 40 ha (100acres) of pastures on clay soil alternated with parts of woodland. All over the territory hills are constructed to give the Przewalski horses chances to get out of sight of each other f they want. A variety of herbs is shown along the hills. Enough food is available for all year grazing, no extra supply is needed in winter. Only in Lelystad public is allowed, but they cannot touch the horses. All other semi-reserves are closed to the public. The stallion Apoll, donated by the Cologne Zoo, is the leader of a group of four mares from different genetic backgrounds born in Memphis Zoo (USA), Bern ( Switzerland ), and two in Owslebury ( England ).

The second semi-reserve was established at the Noorderheide, in the centre of our country, which measures 250 ha (625 acres) with a variety of heather fields on sandy soil, small pastures and different types of forest. A harem of the stallion Tello and his four mares were kept on this completely fenced in nature reserve owned by the State Forestry Department. These mares originate from Leipzig ( Germany ), Midway Manor ( England ) and Bern ( Switzerland ). Unfortunately, the vegetation is too poor, so only on the Noorderheide we had to give the Przewalski Horses extra food. All other territories have sufficient food for year round grazing. Mineral licks were added everywhere. Breeding at Noorderheide has been stopped in 2000, because enough horses were transported to Mongolia.

The third semi-reserve was situated near Nijmegen. This nature reserve covers 30 ha (75acres) and has an ideal vegetation of different types of pastureland on clay as well as sandy soil. The hilly territory is full of herbs alternated by parts of woodland and natural lakes. No extra foodsupply was needed during the winter. Five mares born in the semi-Reserves in Lelystad and Noorderheide were kept in this area together with the stallion Vagur obtained from the USSR. The last group of horses from this area has been transported to Mongolia in 1998.

Stallions on the Goudplaat

The eleven stallions born in the semi-reserves were kept on a 40 ha (100 acres) large peninsula in the South of the Netherlands , called Goudplaat. They had formed two groups each with their own leader. They do very well on the herbaceous vegetation. The stallions look for shelter behind the high thorny bushes and trees and drink water from a natural pond. Not all stallions were suited for transport to Mongolia. After the last transport in 2000 some stallions have remained in Goudplaat.

Another group of eight mares, all born in our semi-reserves, was released in the fifth semi-reserve at Meppen ( Germany ) offered by the State Niedersachsen, measuring 65 ha (165acres). Two stallions from Denver and Minnesota (USA) joined them, giving them a chance of free mate choice to form their own harems in time. The territory has enough food supply for year round grazing for two harems. This semi-reserve has a very varied vegetation with different grasses and herbs, part of it being moorland and part of it agricultural land. The horses can look for shelter in the woodlands and have all possibilities for browsing on bushes and different trees. Even though the breeding programme of the foundation has stopped, there are still Przewalski horses here. They are part of the EEP, a joint breeding programme of several zoos.

Additional information

Only Naturepark Lelystad and Klosterwalde are open for public and can be phoned directly.

Semi-reserve Klosterwalde

In March 1995 the sixth semi-reserve for the Przewalski horses of the Foundation was established at Klosterwalde (Templin) some 100 km. north of Berlin. The 30 ha. large area is enlarged at present till 100 ha. The hilly pastures encircle a beautiful natural lake. In the forest parts the horses can find shelter. In 2000 the first foals will be transported to Mongolia.

The semi-reserve is part of the Naturpark Uckermäukische Seen (Staat Brandenburg). This Naturpark thanks its name to the numerous natural lakes in the area. The park is bordered by the cities Prenzlau, Lynchen, Fünstenberg, Zehdonick and Templin.

Nature Park Lelystad

Telephone: 0320-253643 (the Netherlands)