Page last updated at 20:31 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 21:31 UK

Calf from 'Nazi breed' born in UK

Heck cow and calf
The herd will be subjects for nature photographers

A calf in north Devon is thought to be the first of its breed to have been born in Britain.

The Heck calf was born at a farm in Lifton which imported more than a dozen of the animals from Amsterdam as part of a conservation project.

The herd is descended from cattle specifically bred by Nazi scientists between the world wars.

The calf will join the rest of the herd belonging to farmer and nature conservationist Derek Gow.

Himmler's theory

Mr Gow said the animals were bred between World War I and World War II to resemble the extinct ancestors of all cattle, aurochs.

He said: "Julius Caesar described auroch bulls as being as big as an elephant, and they were found here [in Britain] in Roman times."

He said the modern breed had a "bizarre history".

"Their creation was supported by some quite senior members of the Nazi party for two different reasons," he said.

"Goering wanted them to hunt, Himmler wanted them to prove that if you could select a wild animal, a wild cow, you could do the same with people."

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