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Photographer's Note

European wild horse - tarpan - went extinct in around 1870. But in remote areas of Poland the farmers still kept nearly wild horses, closely related to tarpans, called 'koniks' (horselets, small horses). These animals lived in wild, but whenever farmers needed them, the horses were caught and used as a energy source for free. And then released again.
International interest in these animals renewed in the beginning of 1980ies, when some Dutch people decided that this horse is beautiful and cheap way to keep open landscape. Nowadays there are some 2000 koniks in Netherlands, efficiently replacing hard and endless work of numerous people.
In Latvia after the collapse of Soviet agriculture there are millions of hectares of abandoned agricultural land. In last fifteen years we have seen bushes quickly covering this land. Is it bad? For hundreds of species it is bad - disappear a lot of bird, plant, insect etc. species, who live in open areas. Are we ready to spend a fortune to cut the bushes and high grass each year just to keep these insects at life? Nooo... But there is other, better way

Since 1999 'koniks' are living in Latvia too. They are released in huge fenced areas in nature protected areas and are living there without any human assisstance. OK, sometimes with small tractor they are pulled out of swamps, if they fall in.
These particular horses are part of some 50 horse herd at Lake Pape. Last year 20 000 visitors paid for tickets just to look at these cute animals. Animals are very efficient at eating bushes and reed - in 5 years cleared some 200 ha.
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I put camera on ground - is the grass disturbing? Contrast Masking applied.

Intruder, khawaaja, beb74, richtersl, MyriamVillert, Rychach marcou esta nota como útil

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Additional Photos by Gatis Pavils (Gatis) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 187 W: 37 N: 187] (925)
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