Monday, 15 October 2012

Aurochs being recreated - Or are they?


September 2012. For hundreds of thousands of years Aurochs were a feature of the European wilderness. Since the death of the last aurochs in 1627 in the Jaktorow game preserve in Poland, it seemed that Europe has lost this key species forever. However European Wildlife, in cooperation with the Dutch Taurus Foundation, is planning to return Aurochs to the mountains of Central Europe.
The project is part of a program of the European Centre of Biodiversity whose aim is to protect endangered species and to reintroduce the ones that have become extinct in many places - European bison, wild cats or wild bees. And the aurochs, of course.
Cross breeding
The Dutch Taurus Foundation is preparing two herds that they hope will form the base for semi-wild breeding herds of aurochs in the mountains of the Czech Republic. The aurochs are being ‘recreated' by cross-breeding the suitable primitive breeds of cattle from the whole of Europe within the Tauros Programme.
"The central idea of the Tauros Programme is to find the European bovine breeds with the best ‘primitive' characteristics and breed them into a new fully self-sufficient cattle breed. It will not be an exact copy of the aurochs, but will be very close, so we will call the animal the Tauros. The breeding should be done on a large scale because large numbers are needed," said Ronald Goderie, a board member of the Taurus Foundation. The Aurochs is the animal to choose as our reference, because after about 400.000 years of evolution, the Aurochs had turned into an animal perfected for the European situation.

QUESTIONS?
What is the goal of this project? Is it to save the butterflies that are suffering due to lack of grazing animals? You don't need to create a new species to do that.
Is it to recreate an extinct species? This may be possible, one day, with DNA tricks in embryos, but that is not what is being planned here.  
Begins to sound a little like a vanity project.
Ancient breed to return to Central Europe


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