Eleven ponies have been sent from the heart of Exmoor to the Czech Republic, where they will join a successful conservation project.
The ponies are the third consignment of Exmoors to arrive at Podyji National Park; the first group having travelled there in 2015.
The project, run by Ceska-krajina and funded by European Wildlife, was so impressed with the initial group of ponies, it asked for two more herds to graze additional areas.
According to the Moorland Mousie Trust and the Exmoor Pony Society, which co-ordinated the export, the natives have proved themselves to be extremely effective at grazing alongside the wild European bison, controlling the vegetation and adapting to the Czech climate.
Sue McGeever, secretary of the Exmoor Pony Society, said getting the ponies together from all over the country ready to travel to their new continental home had been a “huge undertaking”.
“We couldn’t have done it without the volunteer time of so many people. It has been a real team effort and all worth it when you see the wonderful new lifestyle the ponies will have,” she said.
The organisations also reported that the Czech project had been ensuring “strict and exemplary management practices” with their herds and that offspring were being inspected and registered with the Exmoor Pony Society — important for ensuring gene pool diversity in the endangered breed.
Juliet Rogers, from the Moorland Mousie Trust added that they were “delighted that the Exmoor pony is proving popular for environmental and conservation work”.
“The breed is ideal for this and it is important that we continue to find outlets for these ponies to ensure continued breeding and diversity of bloodlines,” she said.
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The Exmoors — who were transported by John Parker International — have apparently been warmly welcomed in their new home.
The first group to arrive received national television coverage and the latest small herd was also greeted by crowds as they came of the lorry.
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