In the past few days, the spring season has brought about a renewed tradition in the Obořa Hvězda, a protected area in Prague. Two herds of cattle and four mixed flocks of sheep and goats have been released into selected locations in Prague for grazing. This move is seen as a way of promoting sustainable management of protected areas while at the same time providing a welcomed opportunity for the public to observe the animals in their natural habitats.
The grazing of animals in protected areas in Prague dates back to 2000, with Obořa Hvězda being one of the first areas where animals were released to graze. In the coming days, the animals are expected to be released into other protected areas, such as the Prokopské and Šárecké valleys, as well as the Kamýk residential area.
According to a statement released by the city authorities, the animals help restore the protected areas’ natural environment, thereby confirming that the traditional method of caring for the landscape is often the best possible approach.
The re-introduction of grazing animals has also provided a form of relaxation and entertainment for visitors to the protected areas. Some people have been known to visit the herds specifically as a weekend activity, while others have been pleasantly surprised by the chance encounter.
Jana Komrsková, the Deputy Mayor of Prague for the Environment and Climate Plan, says the recent public response to the herds has been overwhelmingly positive. She is pleased that Prague has again adopted this form of caring for the pastures, and the practice can now be considered a revived tradition after 20 years of implementation.
In the past, grazing on meadows within the city of Prague was a common way of managing not just dry grasslands but also moist meadows. However, after World War II, the practice was discontinued, and as a result, the affected locations gradually started to degrade and lose their biodiversity.
The re-introduction of grazing animals is now helping create bare grass areas where other plant species can thrive. Mixed herds of sheep and goats have been feeding in protected areas since 2000, while cattle grazing started in 2012. The first herd of cattle that has been released into Obořa Hvězda is expected to be moved to selected meadows in the areas of Šeberov, Čimice, Lipence, and Šárecké Valley. Meanwhile, the second herd will find its grazing ground in the dry reservoir of Čihadla between the districts of Kyje and Dolní Počernice.