Rare white cattle can be spotted on Upton Heath this autumn. The two British Whites, named Brendon and Dragon, are helping to restore the Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve, thanks to the generous donations of the public after the blaze that devastated a third of the 500 acre site. They join the three Shetland Cattle already helping to keep vegetation in check, encouraging the return of heathland plants to the burnt area and also reducing the risk and spread of fire across the whole heath.
British White cattle are an old native breed, going back to at least the 17th century and probably hundreds of years before that. Due to the decline in numbers, they are now listed as a minority breed. Brendon and Dragon will be joined during the winter by three other British Whites, part of a herd of five cattle bought by Dorset Wildlife Trust in partnership with the Borough of Poole. Over £50,000 was raised by public appeal after last year’s fire and this was instrumental in achieving further funding of nearly £120,000 from SITA Trust.
Andy Fale, Upton Heath Restoration Project Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Grazing Upton Heath is the traditional and best way to restore and manage this very rare wildlife habitat. The Shetlands have made a great start since July and the British Whites will help them in keeping this large area in the best condition for its rare wildlife and reducing the amount of burnable vegetation in the event of a fire. Both breeds are hardy and they don’t hesitate to get into the hard-to-reach parts of the reserve, showing why British rare breeds are perfect for conservation management.”
Andy added: “The animals are all dog and people-friendly but please do not feed them or allow your dog to worry them. They have plenty to eat and drink and are checked regularly, but if you have any concerns about their welfare, please ring 07823 534687.”
If you would like to help protect Upton Heath from fire and other damage by joining Heathwatch, ring 01202 692033 or click here.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Andy Fale at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01202 692033.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust is part of the Natural Weymouth and Portland Partnership; connecting people with nature
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Brendon and Dragon with the Shetland cattle taking a break on Upton Heath - A FALE
First British White on Upton Heath - A FALE