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Saturday, 14 December 2013

The feral cattle of Letea forest, Romania

The Letea forest in the Danube Delta, Romania, is home not only to a large population of feral horses but also of feral cattle. Some photos: 
©Staffan Widstrand
Their body is slender and resembles that of some Dutch Heck cattle (a post on those is to come soon). The horses in the area were abandoned in the 1980s, and probably this cattle population is not significantly older. Like in the case of the horses, their actual numbers are not known but might be several hundreds. 

Traditional rural cattle of the Danube Delta (see below) are virtually identical to their abandoned relatives, and this breed (if it's a breed at al) also looks quite similar to yugoslavian Busha cattle and Rhodopian shorthorns. These are small cattle, smaller than Heck cattle. I suspect that these southerneastern-european cattle breeds all have a similar history and are mixes of typical podolian steppe-type cattle with central European breeds like Braunvieh and others, but I don't know for sure. These cattle surely can be a useful start for a breeding-back project in that region, some individuals do look interesting (for example, note the very elongated snout of the bull down below). 
© Staffan Widstrand
For more photos of those beautiful feral/abandoned cattle, check out the Rewilding Europe gallery

2 comments:

  1. is there any human management on these cattle, some time ago there was some consternation on rounding up practices of the horses for slaughter

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    1. I don't know if they are used commercially, but I doubt that they are supplementary fed, protected from predators or have medical care.

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