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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Good news from the Auerrindprojekt #2!

Finally, after a long waiting time and also some practical challenges, the first cross calf of the Auerrind project has been born! 

It is a female Sayaguesa x Hungarian Grey calf, and perhaps the only one of its combination yet worldwide. The mother is the Hungarian Grey cow Domka, the father the deceased Sayaguesa bull Johnny. 
It will be interesting to see what the horn shape is going to be like, and how dominant the red portion in its coat colour will be. Perhaps it might resemble some already existing Taurus and Tauros cows in overall looks. 
The cross calf with its mother (© www.auerrind.com)

Congratulations! 

Good news from Kloster Lorsch, Germany

Unfortunately, the Sayaguesa bull Johnny purchased by the Auerrind-Projekt, which was about to produce Sayaguesa x Chianina crosses, had an unfortunate death by the end of this sommer.
But the project announced on their webpage last week that two new young Sayaguesa bulls from the same herd have been purchased and imported last week. Currently, they are in an acclimatization area with the Maremmana cows.

The older one of the two, Leo, has a colour saddle on its back - a trait that is probably due to the Alistana-Sanabresa influence of its mother (10,15%).

I hope that one of this bulls is going to be used for a Sayaguesa-Chianina cross herd as it was planned with Johnny, as I still think this combination has potential for rather interesting animals.

Currently both bulls are grazing with the Maremmana cows for acclimatization. No information has been given so far for what kind of cross combination(s) they are going to use the bulls. I hope that at least one of them will be used to cover the Chianina cows as originally planned with Johnny, because I still think such a combination has great potential. 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Teaser: "True Fs" plus the wisent's hybrid origin

I have been rather busy with university lately, therefore the lack of activity here. I did not miss the news regarding the wisent's phylogenetic origin, but I just did not have the time to cover it properly here. Currently there is another article in preparation, on "true F" individuals from the Lippeaue which might be interesting for breeding strategies. 
Now, holidays are comming, and I hope to find the time to finish those posts. And also to do some work on my new aurochs models made from polymer clay. 
So please stay tuned! 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Water buffaloes released in Danube Delta, Odessa, Ukraine

Recently, the True Nature Foundation has announced that Carpathian water buffaloes have been released in the Danube delta of the Odessa region, Ukraine. 
See here, here and here

I already mentioned the water buffalo project of the TNF in a 2015 article. Back then, it was the intention to crossbreed domestic, locally adapted water buffalo with wild Asiatic water buffalo to achieve a mix of locally adapted and wild type traits. Seemingly this idea has been rejected, perhaps for practical reasons, since the project has announced that the recently released herd is composed of Carpathian water buffalos. Therefore they are domestic descendants of the wild Asiatic buffalo, Bubalus arnee. This species is not native in the area, but Europe once was home to Bubalus murrensis, the European water buffalo. So when domestic water buffaloes are released in Europe, it based on the assumption that both species are ecologically similar and that domestic water buffaloes can fulfill a niche that has been left vacant when the European water buffalo disappeared (for anthropogenic reasons or not). And indeed water buffaloes do have a positive effect on biodiversity in reserves of a certain type (for more details, see the 2015 article and literature cited). However, there is no evidence for Bubalus on the area of the former USSR except for one possible horn element from the Taman island, Russia [1]. 
Nevertheless, I do think that water buffaloes can have a positive effect on biodiversity in the Danube delta of the Ukraine. I assume that studies will be conducted documenting the effect of this megaherbivore species being introduced in this area. 

Literature 

[1] Diana Pushkina: The pleistocene easternmost distribution in Eurasia of the species associated with the Eemian Palaeoloxodon antiquus assemblage. Mammal Review 37 (3), 2007