Horses of the Danube delta

Danube Delta Pony

Danube Delta Pony

Danube Delta pony is a breed of pony living in the wild in the Danube Delta in Romania. The horses live primarily inside and just outside Leteaskogen between the branch rivers Sulina and chilli. Approximately 5,600 wild, stray horses live in the delta area and in the woods. Today there is a great project to try to remove the horses from the Danube delta, in particular because the horses were destroying endangered flowers and plants in the forest. Wild horses have lived in the area around the Danube for many hundreds of years and were caught frequently by local settlers who took them. The local settlers and farmers contributed so that the tribes were under control and never got too big.

Romanians split over environmental impact of Danube delta’s wild horses The wild horses of the Danube delta are a unique sight in Europe but conservationists warn that they are a threat to the region’s forests and marshland.

The story behind the wild horses goes back to the fall of the communist regime and the subsequent collapse of the nation’s economy. With nothing left to feed their horses, farmers on the delta set them loose in the woods and they gradually returned to the wild. Occasionally the farmers would organise hunts, selling the carcasses to Italian companies. But the trade stopped in 2008 when vets realised the horses were suffering from infectious anaemia. By a strange twist of fate the disease saved their lives.

Danube Delta horse refers to a population of feral horse found in and around Letea Forest, located in the Danube Delta, between the Sulina and Chilia branches of Danube. About 3600 feral horses live in the Danube Delta, 2000 in the Letea nature reserve, where on one hand, they are among the last remaining “wild” (feral) horses living at large on the European continent,but are also deemed to be a threat to the flora of the forest, including to some plants on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Natural and cultural grazing in the Danube Delta

The first impression is that many parts of the delta are too wet for grazing by domestic animals like cattle and horses. Even not by the primitive and selfsustaining breeds. But this does not mean that grazing has no role in the ecology of the delta. Between the many swamps and marshes are old and new dunes like dry sandy islands Here we find villages and since historic times, agriculture was
practised in an old fashioned, low-density and sustainable ways. These methods work out as semi natural grazing.