New conservation heroes on the Mourne Mountains!

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There are new conservation heroes on the Mourne Mountains!

A small herd of traditional cattle have moo’ved in to help to bring wildlife back to Northern Ireland’s highest peaks following the devastating fire two years ago. In April 2021, flames ravaged 720 acres of land in the Mourne Mountains, including part of Slieve Donard – and an area once brimming with flora and fauna was scorched, vegetation was destroyed, and species diversity reduced.

Since then, rangers have been trialling different methods to rejuvenate the land and bring it back to full health for the plants and animals that live there. Now, working in partnership with our tenant farmer, a herd of Luing cattle has been added to the restoration efforts. The herd of six cows will trample bracken and chomp through the dominant Purple moor-grass that has sprung up since the fire, providing the space for native plants and heather to return, and creating habitat for newts, lizards, ground-nesting birds and hares.

The animals will wear special collars with GPS tracking which allows ‘virtual fences’ to be created. This means grazing can be targeted at particular areas of the mountains without the need for intrusive fences, while maintaining high levels of animal welfare. This innovative No Fence technology has been shown to be an effective tool to deliver targeted conservation grazing management. The project is a fantastic example of working to deliver a natural solution through the reintroduction of traditional cattle and use of technology to showcase that farming has a vital role to play in tackling the nature and climate crisis.

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