Since 2015, Rewilding Europe works in partnership with The Taurus Foundation in the so-called Tauros Programme. This programme aims to bring back the aurochs as a functional wild animal, by back-breeding the closest relatives of the original aurochs. The aurochs is the ancestor of all cattle and thereby the most important animal in the history of mankind. It is also a keystone species for many European ecosystems but was hunted to its extinction in 1627. However, its DNA is still alive but distributed among a number of the ancient original cattle breeds.
Grazing the landscapes of Europe, the auroch – Europe’s original wild bovine species – once played a vital role in maintaining biodiversity. Today, nearly four centuries after the animal’s extinction, pioneering efforts by Rewilding Europe and the Taurus Foundation are seeing this beneficial herbivore brought back to life. This new animal is called ‘Tauros’.
The breeding programme is founded on a broad, multidisciplinary scientific base, including geneticists, ecologists, molecular biologists, archaeologists, archaeo-zoologists, historians, isotope experts, cattle experts and European cattle breeding organizations.
The breeding activities started in The Netherlands in 2009 and through our partnership, we are now also working in three rewilding areas: Greater Côa Valley (Portugal), Velebit Mountains (Croatia) and Danube Delta (Romania/Ukraine).