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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Horse power to restore marshland
Welsh Mountain Ponies
Ponies eat the reeds, allowing the herbs and sedges to grow
A herd of Welsh mountain ponies are being used to help restore marshland near Swansea.

The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) has brought in ten ponies from Anglesey to graze at Crymlyn Bog nature reserve.

The CCW said the ponies will take on a role traditionally done by sheep or cattle - grazing on reeds which would otherwise smother rare breeds of herbs.

A spokesman said: "They are hardy animals. They can adapt to most terrains."

The four-legged mowing machines have been bought in because reed has begun to dominate and smother some of the rarer herbs and sedges noted on the reserve.

Pony passports

Grazing is a traditional method of preserving such a habitat and in past times would have been done by local farmers using sheep or cattle.

David Painter, CCW Senior Reserve Manager said: "Using these ponies to graze the reed should have a rapid effect on restoring the noted fens at Crymlyn.

"The ponies selective grazing is particularly appropriate to allow the herbs and sedges to recover. The nomadic ponies are hardy animals and have adjusted very well to their new home.

"I'm sure the help of our four-legged members of staff in managing the reed at Crymlyn will prove to be very useful."

Around 100 Wild Welsh Mountain Ponies are used by the RSPCA its Lake Vyrnwy nature reserve to maintain the habitat which is a draw for birds.

The ponies were rescued by the society after the assembly government said they could not be exempted from an EU rule requiring each animal to have 75 "passports".

The ponies were among 300 to 400 Carneddau ponies which roam the Snowdonia uplands.


SEE ALSO:
Passport threat to wild ponies
25 Nov 04 |  North West Wales
Concerns over horse passports
23 Nov 03 |  Devon


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