In case the Bulgarian-Dutch project New Thracian Gold proves successful, very soon wild horses may return to the Rhodope Mountains landscape, just like in the remote past. On 2 Sept. the first group of a dozen of stallions of the Equus ferus ferus species, start their journey from Holland to Bulgaria. Across the world there only 4000 wild horses of this Eurasian species and half of them live in Holland’s wild nature.
A drawing of Equus ferus ferus (wild horse) in the Lascaux Cave, France.
Do Rhodopes need wild horses? We address the question to Johan Bekhuis, coordinator for eco-tourism of the Dutch environmental group ARK that has joined the New Thracian Gold project aimed at the sustainable development of the Eastern Rhodope Mountains.
On the spot of the reintroduction – two ambassadors of charity sent over by the Dutch Postal Lottery that finances the project.
In the past the wild Eurasian horse was common in vast areas from Southern France and Spain all the way to Central Russia. There are many cave drawings of that horse in France, Spain, the Scandinavian countries and in Southern Russia where the Scythians domesticated the wild horse 3000 years ago. Paleontologists in Bulgaria have found wild horse bones attesting that the species was also found in our lands. The Eurasian wild horse is a tough creature that can survive most challenging climate. At the same time with regard to people it is peaceful, serene and even curious, the experts from the New Thracian Gold project say. Reintroducing the species to Bulgaria starts in the region of the Rhodope village of Sbor.
In 2010, 21 Dutch wild horses were released in Latvia. The wild stallions have been reintroduced to nature in France, Britain, Belgium and Germany.
Translated by Daniela Konstantinova