Spanish readers can now learn all about the aurochs and the programme to bring back this European icon. The newest translation of the book – “The Aurochs – Born to be Wild” – provides context for rewilding efforts in Spain, which are set to boost natural grazing with wild and semi-wild herbivores such as the Tauros.
Back to the future
As the ancestor of all domesticated cattle, it’s hard to think of a more important animal in the history of mankind than the aurochs. Once widespread across Europe, it was a keystone species in many continental landscapes. But by 1627 this impressive animal had been hunted to extinction throughout its range.
The auroch may be long gone, yet all is not lost. Today, strands of its DNA remain alive, distributed among a number of ancient cattle breeds that still exist across Europe. Using these breeds, Rewilding Europe, together with the Netherlands-based Taurus Foundation, embarked on a programme to bring the aurochs back to life in 2013. This is the Tauros programme.
The aim of the Tauros programme is to create a functional version of the aurochs – called the Tauros – establishing viable wild populations of this animal across Europe. This, in turn, will boost natural grazing and help to create half-open, half-wooded (mosaic) landscapes that are rich in biodiversity and less prone to catastrophic wildfire.
A beautifully illustrated, 160-page book about the aurochs and the Tauros Programme was published in 2013, titled “The Aurochs – Born to be Wild” – initially in English, and subsequently in Dutch and Russian. Now, a Spanish version of the book has been released, with updated copy and images. It is published by Lynx Edicions, in association with Rewilding Europe.
“This new publication combines authoritative texts, high-level artwork, and striking photography to tell the past, present and future story of the aurochs,” says Amy Chernasky, Editorial Project Manager at Lynx Edicions. “We hope that this book helps a diverse Spanish readership understand the special situation of this animal, as well as the important role that rewilding can play in generating long-term benefits for nature and people.”
Spain is a country particularly well suited to the release of Tauros.
“Many parts of Spain, especially the interior, have experienced rural depopulation for decades,” explains Deli Saavedra, Rewilding Europe’s Head of Landscapes. “Some regions have very few domesticated herbivores left at all, which means there is hardly any natural grazing. The landscape is becoming encroached by shrubs, which increases the risk of catastrophic wildfire and negatively impacts biodiversity. Tauros could really help to address this issue.
“Secondly, Spanish people love bulls – the bull is seen as a symbol of Spain. So we hope Tauros will become popular.”
The bigger picture
A herd of Tauros were released on 1,000 hectares of communal land in the Albarracín Mountains (Sierra de Albarracín) in 2021 – the animals have settled in well and several calves have already been born. Some of the images in the new Spanish edition of The Aurochs publication are of this herd.
The Southern Iberian Chain, a major Spanish mountain range to which the Sierra de Albarracín belong, is a vast, complex area of mostly high and rugged mountains with a long history of rural depopulation and the disappearance of domesticated livestock. Working in collaboration with local partners, Rewilding Europe has been developing a strategy for rewilding the landscape here – rewilding efforts would include boosting natural grazing with wild and semi-wild herbivores such as the Tauros.
The Spanish edition of the The Aurochs publication (titled “El Uro – Nacido para ser Salvaje“) can be ordered through the website of Lynx edicions.
The text and images of the English version of the The Aurochs publication have also been updated (digital copy only). Download the updated English version or order a hard copy (original edition from 2013) by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The price is 29.95 euros, plus shipping.