50 Konik horses from Oostvaardersplassen reserve are bound for Belarus

Konink horses on the Oostvaardersplassen reserve. Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

The first 50 Konik horses of a herd of 150 from the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve are on their way to Belarus, broadcaster NOS reports.

The animals final destination is the Naliboki forest near Minsk, a journey of some 23 hours by truck. The transport was scheduled for three weeks ago but administrative problems got in the way.

The presence of red deer and Konik horses in the Oostvaardersplassen has been controversial for years. Last year there was a massive cull because of the shortage of food, causing a great social uproar.

The province of Flevoland caved in to the demands of protesters to feed the animals against the advice of ecologists and also decided to find new homes for a number of Konik horses. Some 29 horses were brought to the Spanish nature reserve Atapuerca in March.

In July protests flared up again because the meadow where the horses were being rounded up did not provide enough shade during the heatwave.

The Dutch food and consumer safety authority NVWA concluded no action needed to be taken.

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