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An ecology experiment gone wrong?
Holland set aside a 5,000 hectare area as a nature reserve. This area has been allowed to "rewild". A number of large grazing animals like Red Deer, Konik Horses and Heck Cattle have been released into the fenced reserve to multiply and live free. 
After a couple of mild winters the numbers had increased a lot and then with a harsh winter the animals were starving.
A number died naturally and many were killed to keep them from starving.

The idea of the rewilding is good and even with the difficulties it is still good. However ecosystems are very complex and it takes more that add a few large animals to bring an area back into a wild state.

The project is good, but they over simplified it. They should have introduced a predator. A small pack of wolves would have kept things in balance. The project is still a good one although the deaths of so many animals is very sad and should not have happened.  Their numbers needed to be controlled in the early staged of rewilding. The vegetation has not had time to find its balance. Seeing that there was a problem the government should have fed the animals and even removed some. 

Killing starving animals might have been done as a kindness, but things should not have been allowed to reach such a desperate state.

I hope the rewilding is allowed to continue, but I also hope the government will show responsibility toward the project and manage it better.
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A sad outcome. Nature understands these things. We are still learning and have a long way to go.

Yes, with natural systems, there is usually a perfect balance, with healthy animals. Predators are very important in those systems.
The thing is -5000 hectares doesn't sound like very much land. I think in "acres" I'm afraid, so will have to research how "hectares" compare in terms of space. Introducing predatory species may be dangerous in a small country like Holland. It works in a place like Yellowstone.

I can imagine problems might arise with containment of a predatory species; Wolves, for instance.
For example, it is normal for a young male Wolf to leave his original pack and go out wandering, mate with an unrelated female, and they form their own pack. These male wolves are called "dispersers".
How would that work in 5000 hectares?
I calculates hectares to acres and 5000 hectares is 12355.27 acres.
That is a good sized piece of land, but it is not huge. One hectare is about the size of a rugby field.

Allowing that much land to go back to nature is a good thing. I wonder if they should have let the land grow a few more years before adding grazing animals. Maybe they could have done some serious planting of native trees. Adding three different species of grazing animals might have been too much at once. Rebuilding an ecosystem is a very complex thing. It takes years for nature to find a balance. Different species will establish themselves at different stages and eventually a balance will occur. I don't know if predators would have been possible. They certainly should have been considered. 

I think the tragedy was unintended. It was the result of an eager desire to do something without fully understanding how it needed to be done. I think the area can still find a balance, but they do need to do some herd management. In rewilding situations like Chernobyl animals came back in stages and established themselves as the ecosystem could sustain them. 

I would be interested in how this situation turns out. That is still a large piece of land and it could be an amazing nature reserve.
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