Nature Policy, Large Ecosystems
von H. Kampf, Wageningen / Niederlande
11. Public access and Risks
In the Netherlands nature reserves are very important for outdoor recreation; walking, riding and especially cycling are very popular. At first, there might by objections to grazing as people do not like to be hindered by fences and dont want to keep their dogs on a lead all the time.
With good planning, however, these objections can be overcome by providing enough stiles, cattle grids in cycle paths and special gates for horse riders, combined with information for the public. It might be even possible to find a solution when large herbivores have to cross public roads.
The distance between nature and the public has widened over recent decades Footpaths have to be clearly marked otherwise people might get lost. On Sundays when people go out for so-called rambles they go to the woods around a pancake restaurant. Cows and horses are nice to touch, people like it when they suddenly see one in the wild. Large herbivores in nature and woodland areas are not dangerous but one should always be careful. People must know how to behave or what it means when an animal behaves in a certain way. Public education in this respect is essential.
In the Netherlands we have recently seen some accidents one of which was quite serious. They were all caused by people not being careful enough. Some by animals that had lost their shyness through having been fed by visitors.
On this slides is to see how a father tries to let his child riding on a Konik horse: very dangerous indeed.
Points to be considered:
Socio-economic aspects of grazing by large herbivores
Grazing by large herbivores may have a number of socio-economic benefits for the region. Greater knowledge of the costs and benefits would influence the decision whether or not to choose this type of grazing.
Large herbivores in a semi-wilderness area could generate extra income from (sustainable) tourism, and their meat may be a highlight of menus of local restaurants.