Type of protection:UNESCO World Heritage Area
The Auerrind project is based at the Lauresham Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology and aims to contribute with new research on the extinct Aurochs, breed a cattle breed that comes very close to the Aurochs (genetics, behaviour and phenotype) and to use these cattle in natural grazing projects.
- Habitat types: River-meadow habitat including old sand dune with pine forest<br />
- Description: The Auerrind Project focusses on researching the morphology, genetics and distribution of the extinct aurochs, back breeding of a cattle breed that comes very close to the extinct aurochs in terms of genetics, behaviour and phenotype, to fill the ecological gap in the ecosystems and on creating awareness about the need of natural grazing schemes, by providing information and conducting grazing projects.
- Aim: The Auerrind Project aims to create awareness about the need of large herbivores like the extinct Aurochs for our biodiversity and to function as a scientific platform and research institution on the Aurochs and for breeding back an aurochs-like cattle breed. In cooperation with the Taurus Foundations, Rewilding Europe and the Tauros Programme the project aims to share research results in the field of Aurochs-morphology, aDNA and DNA-analysis in accordance with the research-partners of the Tauros-Programme (e.g. Wageningen University). Furthermore, the project works on the exchange of suitable crosses between the Auerrind Project and the Tauros Programme (Rewilding Europe) in the process of selective breeding and for the usage in selected rewilding areas in Europe.
- Vision: Aurrind project vision is to broaden the knowledge about the extinct aurochs and in cooperation with partners create a functional wild animal that resembles the extinct auroch. The end goal is to back breed this large grazer as natural grazing as a key natural process, keeps parts of the land free from forests, providing open habitats that support a wide range of plants and animals.
- Accomplished in 10 years from now: Looking in the future, let's say the year 2030, our expectations are that we have broadened our knowledge about the extinct aurochs but also managed to create a functional wild animal, by back-breeding the closest relatives of the original aurochs. Furthermore, we hope to foster awareness about the importance of rewilding, returning natural processes such as natural grazing and the need for large herbivores in our nature.
- Uniqueness: The Lauresham Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology as initiator of the Auerrind project gives the extraordinary chance to give answers on important historical, ecological archaeological questions of the 21st century.
- Results so far: Four breeding herds established in Lorsch/Bensheim, Einhausen, Bielefeld and Schwarzach, grazing on more than 50ha of grounds in total. A large system of meadows allowing year-round grazing is currently in the development. The project established the aurochs research database which includes radiocarbon-dating, the analysis of data on the existing Aurochs bone material from the Upper Rhine Valley, aDNA-testing on Aurochs material in cooperation with the University of Kiel and other. Research done by the Tauros programme will also be included into the database. <br /> The project hosted and organized a conference on natural grazing and back breeding, as the first step of creating a network where similar projects can share know-how, data and experience. Furthermore, extensive work has been done on education and boosting nature-based tourism. In April 2018 the project signed the cooperation agreement with Taurus Foundation from the Netherlands.
- Flagship species: Feral cattle
- Other characteristics: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research
- Inspirational value: Teamwork, determination and commitment to reaching the common goal of making our world a little bit wilder.
- Experience you would like to share: We would very much like to share our research results in order to help other similar projects and the Tauros Programme by Rewilding Europe and Taurus Foundation.
- Experience you would like to gain: Management and acquisition of the large-scale natural grazing areas.