Cattle To Help Restore Mourne Mountains Following Devastating Fire Damage

Back in 2021, the iconic Mourne Mountains in Ireland experienced devastating damage following a raging wildfire. The fire destroyed around 250 hectares, or 720 acres of land.

According to the UK’s News Letter, the Mourne Mountains are considered a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Photo: Pixabay/Kave Ley

In a June 2023 press release, the National Trust described the fire as “one of the biggest fires of its kind recorded in Northern Ireland.” They added, “An area once brimming with flora and fauna was scorched, vegetation destroyed, and species diversity reduced.”

The area is home to delicate wildlife, such as the Irish hare, the rare pale butterwort, and the starry saxifrage.

Since the devastating wildfire, the National Trust has been working on a restoration plan.

Photo: Pixabay/Matthias Fischer

According to the press release, the National Trust is now partnering with a farmer to add a herd of six Luing cattle to its restoration efforts. The 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 cows will wear special collars with GPS tracking in place of fences.

In the press release, Land Use and Farming Adviser Kevin Duncan said, “We’re delighted to bring this innovative No Fence technology to the Mournes, as it 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.”

Photo: Pexels/Brian Forsyth

“This traditional breed of cattle isn’t a fussy browser and will chomp down rank grasses like Purple moor-grass, unlike sheep, which are a more selective grazer. Cattle would have been much more common on uplands in days gone by, and both cattle and sheep grazing at the right intensity are vital to ensuring a landscape rich in wildlife,” he added.

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