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June 30, 2015
Wild Horses Are Watched By Flying Drone

Prague, June 30, 2015 — Using the latest techniques in these days continues a scientific programme of wild horses return project coordinated by European Wildlife organisation. Yesterday the experts were going to start monitoring a rare steppe locality in central Bohemian Milovice in the Czech Republic with a help of a remote-controlled  unmanned plane – so called drone. Monitoring flights will continue in the coming months.

Non-commercial flights for scientific purposes should bring a lot of useful information to the experts. “The drone will take pictures of the present preserve where the horses are grazing on, and also of an area where pasture will extend in subsequent years. A current steppe condition will be mapped like that from air. The required information will be completed by ground research data,“ explained Miloslav Jirku of the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences who coordinates scientific research in the locality.

“Based on the aerial pictures which will be joined in one unit there will come into existence a very detailed photomap in high definition. We can simply say we will have the vegetation mapped up to the last bush,“ adds Miloslav Jirku. The aerial photography will be repeated once or twice a year over a long period. The steppe development will be thus caught  during several years.

Besides the locality mapping the drone is supposed to be used also for the wild horses taking pictues and filming of. Unique shots catching the herd from bird´s eye view will be thus created. The shots will be used, besides other things, by film-makers making a documentary film about wild horses for Czech Television at the moment.

Drones are, for example, tested by Amazon delivery service which would like to deliver packets to their customers this way in the future. In the Carribean scientists use drones to monitore coral reefs. BioCarbon Engineering company is working on a project using drones to map deforestated areas and their repeated forestation.

In Milovice the locality monitoring with the help of an unmanned drone belongs to a more comfortable research part for the scientists. The others are much more demanding for them. They walk tens kilometres every year while monitoring botanical and zoological variety of the locality. During that the researches record an occurence of butterflies, beetles, birds, flowering plants and other organisms. In Traviny locality the scientists have marked out three tracks of two kilometres every of them, in Pod Benáteckým vrchem locality there are four tracks of fourteen hundred  metres every one.

First watching though already indicate the wild horses managed to transform the locality beyond recognition just after a few months of the stay. “In the acclimatization enclosure which was originally totally overgrown with agressive Wood-small Reed, we already noticed five groups of a rare Star Gentian. It belongs here to the rarest plant species, and what is more an endagered butterfly species, Mountain Alcon Blue, is entirely dependent on this plant,“ adds Miloslav Jirku.

The extent of the scientific research within the project is unique, even when internationally compared. “In many countries of western Europe big hoofed animals have been used for cheap and careful landscape care for at least three decades. With the exception of Germany there are, however, no scientific data available from most of the places. We are glad our project is based on such a close cooperation with leading experts of Czech universities and the Czech Academy od Sciences. Thanks to this our project has ranked among the absolute leading edge within Europe since the very beginning,“ appreciated the cooperation with the experts Dalibor Dostal, director of European Wildlife organisation.

It cooperates on the project with scientists of the Biology centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, South Bohemian University, Charles University, the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Masaryk University and other institutions.

The wild horses arrived in Milovice on 28th January. They come from English Exmoor where they have been living in wild nature since everlasting. The first written mention about them goes back to year 1086 and it belongs to the oldest records about wild living horses in Europe. Recent genetic research have found out that just horses from Exmoor exactly correspond in their appearance and coloration with original wild horses of Europe.

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